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Russell has 'every hope' Mercedes can fight for F1 2023 title – Crash

George Russell says he has every confidence that Mercedes has what it takes to join the fight for world championships in F1 2023
After enjoying an unprecedented streak of eight consecutive constructors’ titles, Mercedes slipped behind Red Bull and Ferrari in 2022 after struggling with their new car concept amid a major overhaul to F1‘s aerodynamic regulations. 
Third-place in the F1 championship standings marked Mercedes worst season since 2013, while the team was able to win just once, courtesy of Russell’s superb drive in Brazil to head home his seven-time world champion teammate Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes made encouraging gains in the second half of the year after being hampered by extreme porpoising with their troubled W13 at the start of the season, and Russell sees no reason why the team cannot bounce back in 2023. 
Asked by Crash.net if he believes Mercedes can fight for the title in 2023, Russell said: “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.

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“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 sees “no reason” for conflict with Hamilton in F1 2023
“At the start of this year, we qualified behind Alfa, behind Haas,” he continued. “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. 

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“The fact now we are in a position to fight for race victories shows a lot. So, I’ve got every bit of confidence in this team. 
“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 next year.”
With F1 set to embark on its longest-ever season in 2023 – potentially featuring as many as 24 races – Russell admits a gruelling calendar only adds to the challenge. 
“The seasons are definitely hotting up,” he explained. “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.
“So 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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