Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc has suggested that every reign must come to an end eventually, so is not overly surprised to see Mercedes struggling to win races in 2022.
The turn of the new technical regulations in 2022 allowed Ferrari to spend a great deal of last year working on their new car as they endeavoured to return to championship contention.
Mercedes, meanwhile, piled resources into trying to win the title with Sir Lewis Hamilton but, while they brought home the Constructors’ Championship, the Briton was denied the drivers’ crown in the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi by Max Verstappen.
Unlike their counterparts, Red Bull were able to put together a race-winning car this season, and they have won all of the last four rounds of the season with a combination of Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
Leclerc won two of the opening three races in Bahrain and Australia, while the best finish Mercedes have mustered is third, and they have done so on three occasions.
Generally, this has been more down to mistakes and misfortune from Red Bull and Ferrari than raw pace, although the consistency they have displayed in each of the last two rounds in Spain and Monaco suggest that they are starting to get back onto the right track
Leclerc admits that it is “strange” that neither Hamilton nor George Russell is fighting at the front for the team that has won all of the last eight constructors’ titles, but affirms that it is simply a part of sport that dominant spells come to an end.
“I think that at some point every team will stop winning,” he told Motorsport.com.
“It’s always strange when such a dominant team is in trouble at the beginning of a season.”
However, he does not believe it will be too long before the engineers at Brackley and Brixworth eventually break into the performance safe and, when they do, the Monegasque is looking forward to having three teams battle for the title.
“I wouldn’t write them off for a long time because I know what a strong team they are,” added Leclerc.
“What they have achieved in the past was no coincidence. It’s the result of when the right people work together.
“Yes, they had a difficult start to the season, but I have no doubt that they will be back very soon.
“They took a first step forward in Barcelona and I hope they will be back soon and will compete with us for victories. It would be exciting for Formula 1 to see three teams battle it out.”
Perez took victory for Red Bull last weekend in Monaco head of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and team-mate Verstappen.
Leclerc started the race on pole, but the Scuderia made a mess of his strategy in changing conditions, meaning that he ultimately had to settle for fourth.
Russell ended the race in fifth, and Hamilton spent the majority of the afternoon stuck behind the slow-moving Alpine of Fernando Alonso, and ended up in P8.