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Mark Webber’s thoughts on Max Verstappen’s assessment of Mercedes’ 2023 season

Max Verstappen’s assessment of the Mercedes Formula One team for the 2023 season has been described as “very polite” by Mark Webber.
Mercedes struggled throughout the 2022 season, while Red Bull won 17 races, 15 of which were won by Verstappen.
The Dutchman dominated on his way to a second F1 championship, while Mercedes could only claim a single grand prix victory, at the penultimate round in Brazil.
Prior to 2022, Mercedes’ performance in the turbo-hybrid era saw it consistently compete at the front, winning championships convincingly in recent years.
Verstappen has spoken about Mercedes’ prospects for the 2023 season, claiming that they will be a greater threat to Red Bull the following year.
However, in an interview with motorsport.com, Webber stated that Red Bull will remain the team to beat.
“I think Max was especially gracious,” Webber said. “I still believe Red Bull will be the most dangerous team at the start of the season.
“They provided a clinic for the others. Once Max was settled in the car, there was no stopping the rest.
“Red Bull as a team quickly dealt with the reliability issues that plagued them at the start of last season.
“The biggest issue for opponents was consistency. At the end, Red Bull was strong on every [tyre] compound, strong on high-downforce circuits and strong on low-downforce circuits.
“They had no real weakness left and Max as an individual I don’t think has any weakness at all, so they did give the competition some headaches.
“In the past year, Max had Formula 1 Plus moments. Spa’s slicing through the field there was the highlight for me.”
Mercedes has lost its chief strategist, James Vowles, who has left to join Williams as its new Team Principal ahead of the new season.