Max Verstappen believes that Mercedes did not show the right speed in the pre-season tests and that he saw what it was about, and although Mercedes says that Red Bull is the favorite ahead of the first race of the season in Bahrain, the Dutchman does not want to accept that role.
Red Bull, in their own words, had the best pre-season tests in their history, and Mercedes drove the fewest laps of all the teams in three days and had problems with the stability of the rear end. Despite the fact that Hamilton was more than a second slower than Verstappen in his fastest lap and to a degree of softer tires, Verstappen, taught by experience from previous years, can not be fooled by Mercedes' performance.
“You can see what they’re doing,” Verstappen told Dutch Ziggo Sport. “They drove their fastest lap with less power, and after that, they drove two laps lightly. And the lap behind that they drove with half a second more power from the engine.
” “So they are fast, no doubt. Of course, they will try to push us into the role of favorites, and then they will appear at the top again and everything is ingenious! ” “They did that in some races last year.
They would say ‘Red Bull looks very strong on Friday, but deep down I knew that was not the case. ” "Then they'd be on top again on Saturday and I thought 'oh, great!'
Verstappen believes they are not the main favorite
Mercedes believes that Red Bull in Bahrain will be the team to be beaten, but that they will do their best to solve the problems with the instability of the rear end of F1 W12 until the first race of the season.
Verstappen doesn’t believe that story given the successes Mercedes has achieved in recent years and the advantage in speed they have shown last season. “If you’ve been so dominant in the last seven years and have such a dominant car, even if you have the worst flooring you’re still good.
That's why I still see Mercedes as a favorite, ”said Verstappen. "For seven years in a row, they've won everything so I don't see myself as a favorite at all." “I am happy with what we have done in the tests and I am happy with the balance of the car.
Is that good enough? I have no idea. We'll see in Q3. ” "It's normal for them to be favorites, isn't it?"