Mercedes drivers Hamilton and Russell combined to battle their W13 car’s issues with porpoising and performance throughout a drab 2022, a year in which they were largely helpless to stop Max Verstappen winning a second consecutive F1 title.

Hamilton did not win a single race for the first time in his career, while Russell won his first-ever grand prix in Brazil. Russell, in fourth, finished ahead of Hamilton in the F1 standings and has been bullish about his own ambitions next year.

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Four-time champion Vettel told Sky about Russell’s hopes: "It's so difficult to say. But if he gets the right car, the right equipment, the right team - and I think he's in a good place - then yeah I think he's got the talent and skill.

"There's more than talent and skill needed but he seems to be hard-working, so yes he's got a good chance."

Russell warned that he was coming to claim the championship for himself.

“I feel absolutely ready to win a world championship," he told Sky in Abu Dhabi. "I've felt ready for a couple of years now.

"I think having this season next to Lewis has been huge for me personally to learn some of the little details, how to get more out of my car, more out of my team, and extracting everything out of the package when it truly matters.

"And I'm definitely going to have a really strong winter. I'm going to work really hard with my team. Every single person at Mercedes' factory is going to be pushing like hell to deliver a car, to give us a chance to go fight next season.

"I guess if you told me that at the start of the year, I would have been extraordinarily happy because if you beat Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes, most of the time that means you will be a world champion.

"Obviously, I would take the positives away from the season, but I'm not going to celebrate finishing P4 in the championship.

"I'm going to celebrate winning the race in Brazil because that was a huge achievement for myself and the whole team. But the fact is, we're all here to win and we're here to win world championships. So we've not done a perfect job this season. We've had a relatively clean and smooth season with the car and package we've had.

"But to the standards this team set, some standards I set myself - it's not good enough and we need to go on next year and give it more."