Russell expects Red Bull to bounce back in European races and labels Hamilton as "one of the greatest"

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Mercedes driver George Russell expects Red Bull to return to top form after its recent slight dip in form which enabled McLaren and Ferrari to secure victories in Miami and Monaco respectively.

Red Bull displayed omnious pace during pre-season testing and in the first two rounds of the season, but their closest rivals - Ferrari, McLaren - have managed to close in on them, and have already stolen two victories away from the Milton Keynes-based outfit. The Woking-based squad was victorious in Miami while Ferrari stole in show in Melbourne and Monaco.

In the last three rounds, Mercedes have also shown clear indications of their improved performance thanks to a development push. The improved pace enabled George Russell to claim his first pole position of the year in Canada and secure the Anglo-German's outfit's first podium finish on the following day.

Despite the recent shift in the pecking order, Russell thinks that Red Bull might return to dominant form when the second European lef of the season kicks off at next weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

"I think Red Bull have struggled a little bit the last couple of races, yet they've still won two of the last three. So I expect them to probably take a small step when we go back to the European races on more conventional circuits.

"But I really think our performance step is true and it's real. And I think we can be in this fight with McLaren. Let's hope we can continue being in the fight with Max. And let's see with Ferrari, they obviously had a bit of an off weekend.

"You know, I think Red Bull have had, you know… It's no secret they've struggled a bit with their car these last three races. So I think we need to see how their performance turns out in Barcelona, which is a little bit more of a conventional circuit."

The one-time F1 race winner said that his team was not taken aback by the improvements as the simulation indicated that they will make a significant step forward with the upgrades.

"But this pace increase that we've seen from us this weekend, it hasn't been a surprise to us because all the numbers back at the factory told us we're going to be finding a big chunk of performance with these upgrades. So Barcelona is going to be interesting for everybody, but I'm confident we can be in the fight."

Russell was involved in various on-track battles during the Canadian Grand Prix due to the variable conditions. The closing stages of the race saw him battle with his team-mate Lewis Hamilton for the third spot on the rostrum. Russell labelled the seven-time world champion as "fair" and "one of the greatest."

"But no, definitely those last three laps, I was so focused to get back on the podium because I felt like I let the team down a bit, just losing sight of Max and a few mistakes that put me in that position in the first place. And always with Lewis, it's really hard and fair.

"When you're racing with one of the greats, you know that you can trust them. And that was really great to see at the end," Russell concluded.