F1 restarts in just over a week’s time, and all 20 cars will take to the track for the Bahrain Grand Prix, marking the start of the 2022 Formula 1 season.
The last FIA-approved pre-season test ended this weekend and at the end of it, the Mercedes team seemed to be lagging behind. So much so that seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton said that he “doesn’t think Mercedes will fight for victory” in several post-testing interviews, including the official F1 website.
A statement that reigning world champion Max Verstappen did not believe at all. “It’s always like that,” exclaimed the Dutchman.
“If a team that everyone expects to do well then they say: ‘Oh no, we are definitely not the favourites’. Then, a week later, everything is fine and they say ‘Oh no, but we changed everything in a week. It’s crazy, an incredible job. Thanks to all the people at the factory!'”
And to be fair to Max, that’s exactly what happened last year when Mercedes looked bad in winter testing before Lewis Hamilton won the first race of the season ahead of Verstappen.
“If this was the first year they were doing it, I might believe them, but they’ve been doing it for five or six years now and they keep surprising us at the first race,” said Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz on Friday.
Bluff or real crisis for Mercedes? As always in motorsport, the truth will come out during the race.
Hamilton said the scenario was different this year claiming:
“It feels a lot different [to 2021], it’s not going to look as good as it did last year, with the difficult session we had… and then switch over to the race. I think we have far bigger challenges this time and turnarounds that will take a lot longer. From what I’m told, we have a lot of pace to find,
“But there is potential within our car to get us there,” he added. “We’ve just got to learn to extract it and fix some of the problems, which is what we are working on. Everyone is doing such an incredible job back at the factory, working as hard as they can, but we have some hurdles to overcome.” reports formula1.com.