After a hard fought title battle in 2021 between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, the 2022 season was a much more straightforward affair for the Red Bull driver. With Verstappen already matching the win records of Fernando Alonso and looking likely to break the record for most wins in a season held jointly by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, it could be the start of an 'era' of dominance for the Dutchman.
Leclerc to work to stop Verstappen dominance
Charles Leclerc was Verstappen's sole title challenger in 2022, but with work going into next years car towards the end of this season the Monegasque hopes he can prevent any sort of dominance 'era' from happening. "I hope not," he laughs when asked by media. "I will do everything I can to prevent that and as a team we are also working on that." "I think it is very clear for us where we need to improve. Over one lap, we are really strong and I think we are on the same level as Red Bull; over the course of a race, then we are struggling with tyres. "Looking back at the season, there's been not only tyre degradation but there has been mistakes, strategy, communication and tyre management is one of those things. "We are trying to use these last races in the best way possible in order to challenge Max and Red Bull for the championship next year. "But I'm confident we can do that because I know how hard we are working and I'm confident that we are working in the right direction."
Hamilton on Verstappen dominance: 'Too early to say'
Hamilton was close to taking his first race win of 2022, following a number of issues that have plagued the W13 throughout the season affecting Mercedes' pace this year. He believes it is 'too early to say' whether Verstappen will continue his run of wins with Red Bull given the recent regulation changes being designed with the idea of keeping teams closer on track. "It is too early to say. If we get into next year and they're dominating again, then yes, but the Ferraris have been quicker than them throughout qualifying," he said. "I think they've every single lap probably had better performance on the majority of a lot of the season. "Now, all they need to do is pick up their race pace, and they'll be right with them. I think we've got a much, much bigger step and steeper hill to climb, but hopefully not impossible."