F1 News: George Russell Confident Mercedes Will Be Fighting For Championship In 2023 – Sports Illustrated

George Russell is confident that Mercedes will be in a position to fight for the championship in 2023 against Red Bull and Ferrari.
The newest Mercedes driver has reflected on the difficult 2022 team which saw some great late season performance with Russell taking his first career win at the Brazilian Grand Prix. 
During an interview with Autosport, Russell spoke about how much the team developed over 2022 and that he has high hopes for the upcoming 2023 season. He explained:
“I think when you look at the development we have brought this year, and the rate at which we’ve closed the gap, there’s nothing telling us we can’t achieve this.
“We’ve been pretty clear now for about two months which targets we have to hit in terms of development. And I am pretty confident if we do achieve that, we will have a car that we can compete with Red Bull.”
Russell went on to reflect on how much the team struggled at the start of the year with the many problems with the car that started with the porpoising. He added:
“At the start of this year, we qualified behind Alfa, and behind Haas. I remember in Imola, I finished fourth but I was the same pace as Lando [Norris], and I had Valtteri [Bottas] chasing me down in the Alfa.
“They were quicker than us in that race and Lewis was in P10 or P9. But you look at us now, and where we are in comparison to those cars that probably haven’t had the similar development as the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull, we’ve made massive strides.
“The fact now we were in a position to fight for race victories shows a lot. So, I’ve got every bit of confidence in this team.
The British driver also believes that more preparations need to be put in place to take on the longer season ahead. 23 races are confirmed so far and there is the potential 24th race. 
The Chinese Grand Prix had previously been cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions so the F1 were considering replacing it with Portugal. However, the restrictions in China have since been lifted so they want back in.
It has not yet been confirmed if the April slot will be taken by China, Portugal, or removed from the calendar all together.
“Maybe straight out of the blocks, we weren’t the fastest car because of where we were coming from. But the rate of development, I’ve got every hope that we can definitely fight for the championship.
“The seasons are definitely hotting up. It’s going to be one of the challenges, for sure – one of which, you wish you can do a better job than your competitors.
“We will definitely have a sit down with the team, with my personal team, to see how we can be the most efficient across the season, and make sure not only I, but everyone in the team performs at their A-game over such a brutal season.
“It’s definitely a challenge, one of those which just adds to the challenges of F1.”


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