Leclerc not surprised Mercedes’ reign has ended

Michelle Foster
George Russell and Charles Leclerc celebrating after the race. Australia April 2022

George Russell from Mercedes and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc celebrating after the race, hugs. Australia April 2022

Charles Leclerc is not surprised that Mercedes’ dominant run has ended, saying at “some point every team will stop winning”.

Mercedes have been the dominant force in Formula 1 since 2014, putting together an unprecedented run of eight Constructors’ Championship titles while also winning seven Drivers’ crown.

This season the team has yet to even win a grand prix.

Debuting a zero-pod W13, the Mercedes F1 car has suffered with extreme porpoising that is costing them downforce and pace.

In seven races they have managed just three podium results, a hat-trick of P3s, and have scored 134 points to sit 101 behind championship leaders and their 2021 rivals, Red Bull.

Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz run in close proximity during pre-season testing. Bahrain March 2022.

“I think that at some point every team will stop winning,” was Leclerc’s pragmatic assessment to Motorsport.com.

But, he added: “It’s always strange when such a dominant team is in trouble at the beginning of a season.”

There were signs in Spain that Mercedes had turned a corner, the team debuting a new wing that seemed to minimise their bouncing.

But, one race later in Monaco, it was back with a vengeance with both drivers complaining about, Hamilton saying after the race that he is “done shaking” with “my teeth, my jaw moving all the time”.

He finished the Monaco race down in eighth place while Russell continued his top-five run with a P5.

Leclerc says it would be foolish to rule out Mercedes bouncing back and joining the fight for the race wins.

“I wouldn’t write them off for a long time because I know what a strong team they are,” he said.

“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.”

Russell is Mercedes’ highest-placed driver in the standings in fourth place with 84 points, Hamilton has 50.

 

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