Formula 1

Leclerc Expecting Resurgent Mercedes to Make it a Three-Way Championship Battle in 2023

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Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Charles Leclerc is expecting a resurgence from the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team during the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season after the most dominant team from the hybrid era finished only third in the Constructors’ Championship in 2022.

Mercedes won each of the first seven Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships between 2014 and 2020, and although Max Verstappen won the Drivers’ title in 2021, Mercedes still won the Constructors’ Championship that season.

But 2022 was different, with Mercedes struggling to adapt to the new aerodynamic regulations, which meant they could only take one victory across the twenty-two races thanks to George Russell’s win in the São Paulo Grand Prix, and one pole position for the same driver in Hungary.

Lewis Hamilton saw his record of winning a race in every season of his Formula 1 career end in 2022, with the Briton also failing to earn a pole position as he finished a lowly sixth in the Drivers’ Championship, thirty-five points behind team-mate Russell, who beat Carlos Sainz Jr. to fourth.

Sainz’s Scuderia Ferrari team-mate Leclerc, however, believes Mercedes will come back stronger in 2023 and bring themselves into contention for both championships, and the Monegasque driver reckons it could be a three-way battle at the front involving Mercedes, Ferrari and Oracle Red Bull Racing.

“I do believe that Mercedes will be in the fight,” Leclerc is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “Another team? I haven’t seen signs yet maybe to believe that another team will join the top three.

“But Mercedes will definitely be there next year with a very strong car. We’ve seen how much they’ve improved from the first race to the last race.

“I think they understood what they did wrong, and this is normally the sign that it will go better.  So hopefully it will be a three-team fight next year.”

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