Helmut Marko reveals why Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes could easily beat Red Bull

Mercedes ended the 2022 season 244 points behind Red Bull in the Constructors' Championship.

Red Bull will look back on 2022 with mainly a smile on their faces, following what was perhaps their most dominant campaign in Formula 1.

The Austrians remarkably claimed 17 wins from 22 races in 2022, with double World Champion Max Verstappen having claimed 15 of those.

Verstappen’s 15 wins actually saw the Dutchman break the record for most wins in a single season; he also set a new record for most points scored in a year as well.

On the other side of the Red Bull garage, Sergio Pérez enjoyed a strong campaign, one which saw him claim two victories and his first pole position.

READ: Scene of Max Verstappen controversy set to return to 2023 calendar

However, he fell just short of claiming second in the Drivers’ Championship at the season finale in Abu Dhabi, something which would’ve been the ‘cherry on top’ for Red Bull’s season had he managed it.

Nevertheless, it was a year to celebrate for the energy drink-owned side, who also spent the end of the year grieving the death of Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz.

It wasn’t just Mateschitz’s death that the team had to deal with late in the year, with the FIA having also deemed Red Bull guilty of breaching the 2021 budget cap.

Red Bull’s penalty for making a ‘minor’ breach of the 2021 cap was a $7 million fine and a 10-percent reduction in permitted aerodynamic research, meaning they’ll receive less wind tunnel time going forward.

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The latter is something Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko believes will affect the Austrians, especially going into the new season, with Marko predicting that Mercedes will be back.

“I’m afraid not. Mercedes has fought its way up to us over the year,” he told SportBild, when asked if Red Bull will be as dominant in 2023.

“They’re not on a par with us yet, but they have more wind tunnel time to develop the car.”

Whilst Marko believes Mercedes will be fighting for victories again in 2023, he still believes his side have the edge in both championships.

The Silver Arrows endured a disastrous 2022 campaign, their worst of the hybrid era by an absolute mile.

With that in mind, Marko isn’t “too worried” about the Germans looking ahead to next season, especially as they have the “best driver” on the grid to lead the side.

“I’m not too worried, though,” added Marko.

“We’re on a good track for 2023 and, with Max, we have the best driver in the field.”

Interestingly, it’s not just Marko who is expecting Mercedes to be back at the front next season, with Ferrari star Charles Leclerc expecting the exact same.

Mercedes were considerably stronger at the end of the year than they were at the start, with the side having shown clear progression throughout 2022.

READ: Max Verstappen warned he can’t dominate like Lewis Hamilton

Leclerc is “pretty sure” that Mercedes will take what they learnt from 2022 into 2023, something which will potentially see Lewis Hamilton and George Russell fighting for the title.

“I’m counting on them,” Leclerc told Auto Motor und Sport.

“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.”