Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz has responded to comments made by Mercedes suggesting that the Scuderia are the team to beat heading into the 2022 F1 season.
Going into day three of testing in Bahrain, the Spaniard topped the timesheets on day two. He finished second on day one, with team-mate Charles Leclerc in third.
Testing notoriously never presents the complete picture of a car’s speed. However, given their pace during the test in Barcelona as well, Ferrari look to be in a good position.
Although the ‘porpoising’ – where the car essentially bounces when in a straight line at high speeds – is common on the Ferrari, it appears less pronounced than for other teams. The car looks easy to handle through the corners, and their lap times reflect progress.
It is a far cry from recent seasons, where even a podium would be considered a successful Grand Prix weekend. Ferrari haven’t won a race since Leclerc took the chequered flag at the 2019 Italian Grand Prix.
What have Mercedes said about Ferrari’s testing pace?
The speed of the Scuderia’s latest challenger appears to have struck fear into some leading teams.
One of those is Mercedes. They have won each of the last nine Constructors’ Championships – the first team in F1 history to do so.
Speaking after the opening test in Barcelona, Mercedes’s George Russell suggested his team were behind Ferrari and McLaren.
He explained: “They seem to have things well under control. They are on top of everything and looking very strong – low fuel, high fuel and with tyre management.
“We all know we are on different programmes, but we definitely know from the average of all of the different runs, we are behind them at the moment.”
During the final day of Bahrain testing, meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton also pointed to Ferrari as the fastest car.
He said: “No, at the moment, I’m sure everyone can figure it out, we’re not the quickest. Ferrari look to be the quickest. Perhaps Red Bull, then us, or maybe McLaren.”
Carlos Sainz responds to Mercedes comments
Sainz, meanwhile, was having none of the comments made by Russell and Mercedes. He pointed to previous years, where Mercedes have played down their testing performance but become the fastest car when the season begins.
Sainz said (quotes via Autosport): “I think it is typical Mercedes. Hyping up the others, and then we come to the first race and they blow the competition away, which is typical.
“If it was the first year they did that [tipped others], then maybe I would believe them. But they have done it for five or six years now, and they keep crushing us in the first race. So, as you can imagine, I don’t believe much.
“Already, we can see what they are doing. And I am not going to say much.”
The 2022 F1 season begins with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 20. Sainz, Ferrari and Mercedes will no doubt be battling for top honours – although it seems we don’t yet have any real idea of which order they may finish.
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