'Typical Mercedes, typical George' – Sainz shrugs off Russell's claim that Ferrari are strongest in pre-season testing
Carlos Sainz has brushed off implications – specifically those of Mercedes’ George Russell – that Ferrari are looking like potential favourites in 2022, calling it “typical” of Mercedes to “hype up the others” before the first race of the season.
Sainz and Ferrari have indeed had a successful pre-season so far, having led the mileage charts in Barcelona before following that up with second and third place on the opening day of the Official Pre-Season Test in Bahrain. Mercedes’ new hire Russell has talked up the Scuderia’s performance, calling the team “globally the strongest” on Thursday, having also pointed them out as threats in Spain.
Sainz, however, offered a strong rebuttal to that, telling the media on Friday: “I think it’s typical Mercedes, typical George. Just hype up the others and then come to the first race and blow the competition away, which is typical.
“If it had would be the first year they’ve done it then I would maybe believe them, but they’ve done it for five six years now and they keep [performing] in the first race.
“So, as you can imagine I don’t think much [of the comments] and yes, already in GPS [data] we can also see what they are doing and yes, I’m not going to say much… yes, I’m not going to say much,” said Sainz.
In Bahrain, under searing-hot conditions with stiff breezes keeping the drivers on their toes, Sainz added that the true pace of Ferrari and their rivals is easily disguised. He admitted that he hadn’t found much confidence, even having posted a solid 52 laps to go second behind leader Pierre Gasly on the opening day.
“Yes, still obviously not much [confidence], because we are still obviously going through our run plan, going through the things we want to test before going here for the race weekend, and it’s still very difficult to know where everyone is.
“Particularly here in Bahrain… one hour changes everything. A wind direction change here can mean once corner becomes super tricky to super easy and some track temperature up and down just means you are two-three tenths quicker [or slower]. So it’s very difficult to take conclusions in Bahrain, even when you are testing stuff that you’re interested in taking conclusions.
“It’s particularly challenging because the track keeps changing and keeps evolving every half an hour, basically.”
Ferrari continued their pre-season testing programme with Sainz back at the wheel, having taken over from team mate Leclerc, on the afternoon of the second day. Follow live coverage here.
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