George Russell says considering Mercedes’ 2022 “rate of development”, he’s got “every hope that we can definitely fight for the championship”.
Mercedes has been struggling with their car for most of 2022, but in the second half of the season clear progress could be observed.
The team is now deep into its 2023 preparations, and George Russell says he is confident they are on the right path.
When asked by Autosport if he thinks Mercedes will be able to challenge Red Bull in 2023, the young Briton 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.
“We’ve been pretty clear now for about two months which targets we have to hit in terms of development.
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“And I am pretty confident if we do achieve that, we will have a car that we can compete with Red Bull.”
George added that Mercedes’ 2022 progress definitely points to a big step up in performance in 2023.
“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.
“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.”
George also added that he is deep into his personal preparations, as he wants to be at his best once the season starts in March.
“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.”