Max Verstappen says it “looks like” Red Bull could win every race this season but insists that it is “very unlikely to happen”.
Red Bull have won all six races so far in 2023, with four for Verstappen, and look set to dominate this year.
Verstappen said: “How it looks at the moment, I think we can. But there are always thing that go wrong.
“We will always have tracks where it doesn’t work out exactly, bad luck in qualifying, mistakes, whatever.”
Mercedes driver George Russell, who said at the beginning of the year that Red Bull could win every race, said: “On pure pace, they have the potential, but I’d like to think we can fight at some point and take advantage of some misfortune.”
A number of teams are bringing car updates to this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix that they hope will improve the performance of their cars.
Red Bull are among them, but Aston Martin, second in the championship, also have a car development, as do Ferrari, while Mercedes are continuing with the major redesign they introduced in Monaco last weekend.
Russell said he believed Mercedes would have one of their stronger weekends so far this season in Barcelona, partly because it was their best race of a very difficult start to last season.
“We are not going to judge anything just on this weekend,” Russell said. “Last year, we had a really competitive weekend in Barcelona. I was on the podium and Lewis [Hamilton] was really strong in the race after a puncture, and we came away thinking all our problems are solved. And we got to the following couple of races and learned that wasn’t the case.
“I am sure we will have a slightly more competitive weekend see in Barcelona but that doesn’t mean we are definitely back.”
Russell said that the run of temporary tracks at the start of the year – five of the first six races have been held on street circuits of one kind or another – had made it “a really challenging start of the season”.
Barcelona marks the start of a run dominated by more conventional tracks, excluding the street circuit in Canada in two weeks’ time, that he said would give “a better picture of where the car truly is and the order will be in a bit more of a settled position”.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz said it would take some time before any team was in a position to challenge Red Bull, so strong is their car.
The Spaniard said Ferrari’s upgrade was “a new direction into what we think will be the right path into making the car more drivable and more consistent in the race”.
He added: “We have been struggling but with this first step into this direction we try to correct the [deficiencies] we have. But is the first step of many steps to come. It is not going to change our life overnight.”
Verstappen said the best way to ensure the field closes up would be to leave the technical regulations the same for as long as possible.
“If you keep on tweaking things,” Verstappen said, “some team will always find something and then it takes a bit of time for everyone to catch up.”
He added that dominance was a natural state for F1.
“We have always seen this in F1, it is nothing new,’ Verstappen said. “The longer you leave the regs the same, the closer people will get. Maybe this is something we need to look at.
“You have the odd year for two where maybe two teams are fighting but overall from the 1980s, through the 1990s to now it is has been pure dominance of a certain team.”
Verstappen heads into this weekend’s race with a 39-point lead over team-mate Sergio Perez, whose failure to score points after a difficult weekend in Monaco has allowed Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, who finished second to Verstappen for his fifth podium in six races, to close to just 12 points behind the Mexican.