Charles Leclerc makes Mercedes claim as Lewis Hamilton to be a factor in 2023 battle

Mercedes finished third in the constructors’ championship in 2022 after failing to adapt to the major changes in the regulations.

Everything that you could possibly have predicted about Mercedes in 2023 seemly went the opposite way in a turbulent year for the Silver Arrows.

The team finished third in the constructors’ championship, George Russell secured the team’s only win of the season and Lewis Hamilton completed the first winless season of his illustrious career.

The team encountered violent porpoising problems in the early weeks of the season, and Toto Wolff has suggested that the Silver Arrows lost approximately six months’ worth of development while they fixed the issue.

Despite being below par for the majority of the season, Mercedes ended up being one strong result away from overtaking Ferrari in the championship, after the Scuderia lost a vast number of points over the course of the season due to poor decision making and strategy mistakes.

READ: Toto Wolff tells Lewis Hamilton and George Russell to ‘run faster’

Charles Leclerc has now claimed that he is counting on Mercedes to get back to their best in 2023, believing that they will once again be one of the fastest teams next season.

“I’m counting on them. This season you never knew what to expect from them,” the Ferrari driver told reporters.

“You never know if they will be slow or fast. Especially in qualifying.

“They are usually better positioned in the race. I’m pretty sure they’ll carry over the good things about the car and be quick,” Leclerc explained.

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Toto Wolff has admitted that his team got the physics wrong surrounding the new regulations, resulting in the W13 being uncompetitive for the majority of the season, but has claimed that a period in the shadows is not on the agenda for his team.

READ: Lewis Hamilton makes ‘big ugly’ comment about Max Verstappen

The Austrian believes that the 2022 season is a one off, and has put Red Bull and Ferrari’s recent title droughts down to major changes in staff and drivers while his Mercedes outfit remain the same structurally and with the same funding.

Lewis Hamilton is set to sign a multi-year contract extension over the winter break, which is possibly the strongest indicator yet that Mercedes are confident of challenging for both championships once again in 2023, after a year of struggle.

The 37-year-old would surely be at peace with experiencing the first winless season of his career, should he break Michael Schumacher’s record and secure his eighth drivers’ championship before he retires, making all the physical and mental pain of 2022 worth it.