Max Verstappen does not feel that Red Bull experienced "true domination" in the 2022 F1 season.
The Dutchman sealed his second World Championship with four races to spare at the Japanese Grand Prix, finishing the year 146 points clear of second-placed Charles Leclerc. He also achieved a record-breaking 15 wins during the campaign.
Meanwhile, Red Bull claimed the Constructors' Championship – for the first time since 2013 – just one race after Verstappen's title success.
While the team looked to increasingly have the edge over Ferrari and Mercedes as the year progressed, Verstappen feels that things did not always go entirely in their favour.
Verstappen: 2022 not true domination
When asked if he hoped to be pushed by his rivals in 2023, Verstappen told US broadcaster NBC: "Well, I think I did get pushed this year.
"It's just that some teams around us had reliability issues. Yes, it looks like it was a dominating season but, actually, when you look at it, I didn't even have that many pole [positions] because our car over one lap was – for most of the season – not even the quickest.
"So I wouldn't say that this was actually true domination because, I think if you really dominate, you put it on pole and just drive off into the distance and that's it, which most of the time was not the case."
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Verstappen recalls early-season issues
Despite their later success, Red Bull had a difficult start to the 2022 campaign, with both Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez retiring from the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix due to mechanical problems.
Verstappen also recorded a second technical DNF two races later in Australia, and the World Champion has not forgotten these issues that the team faced.
"In the beginning of the year, I don't think we had the fastest car but we still got a few wins, which at the time [were] really rewarding because I knew that it was going to be a tough battle," Verstappen added.
For the upcoming season, the 25-year-old is open-minded about the type of battle he hopes to face.
"I like both [scenarios]; I like to fight for it, but also sometimes it's really nice to dominate a weekend, for example like we had in Spa," Verstappen explained.
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