Tom Clarkson thinks Mercedes will “close the gap” to Red Bull

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Official F1 Nation podcast host Tom Clarkson says he doesn’t think “Mercedes’ problems are anything like as bad as they want us to believe”.

The first two races of the 2023 season were quite disappointing for Mercedes. After the Bahrain Grand Prix, the talk from the team was really downbeat, as they acknowledged they have made an error when they decided to stick with their 2022 car concept.

However, at the Australian Grand Prix they seemed to make quite a step forward, with Lewis Hamilton ending the race on the second step of the podium.

The host of Formula 1’s official F1 Nation podcast Tom Clarkson says he believes Mercedes has been exaggerating their issues.

“I don’t think Mercedes’ problems are anything like as bad as they want us to believe,” Clarkson said.

“Do you remember after the first race in Bahrain, when Toto Wolff wrote a message to the fans, he was very negative in the media after the race, as was Lewis, saying that he had no feeling for the car, he was sitting too far forward, all of those things.

“But ultimately, in Formula 1, the stopwatch never lies, and look at the last two races, the gap to Red Bull in Australia was point two of a second in qualifying I think, that’s what George Russell was behind.

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“And it was the same as that in Saudi, admittedly, that was Sergio Perez on pole and he made a mistake on his final Q3 run and there was no Max Verstappen involved, but a car that’s only point two of a second off a Red Bull is not a bad racing car.

“So for me, the starting point isn’t that bad. Can they improve it? Yes, absolutely they can.

“It’s just a question of how much and they’re talking about changing the concept and they’ve had this period between Australia and Baku to do that.

“Toto Wolff is talking very positively about the gains that they’ve made, but equally, no one else is standing still, everyone else is going to be using this gap to improve as well.

“So in conclusion, I think they will close the gap. They will win races, but I can’t see them beating Red Bull over the balance of the season,” the Briton concluded.

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