Carlos Sainz has dismissed George Russell and Mercedes’ “typical” mind games, saying they talk up their rivals only to destroy them at the first race.
According to new Mercedes signing Russell, Ferrari head into the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix as the team to beat.
“Ferrari look extremely solid,” said the Briton during the official pre-season test in Bahrain. “They are fast in all conditions.”
That has shown on the timesheets with Sainz P2 in Friday’s running with a 1:33.532 on the C4 tyres. The closest Mercedes was Lewis Hamilton, P5 on the C5s with a 1:34.141.
Sainz, though, has been quick to downplay Russell’s comments.
“I think it’s typical Mercedes, typical George,” he said. “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.”
Two down, one to go 🙌
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) March 11, 2022
Mercedes have won seven of the last eight Drivers’ titles and all eight Constructors’ titles.
In sharp contrast, Ferrari are looking for their first World title since Kimi Raikkonen’s 2007 success with the Scuderia having last won the teams’ trophy in 2008.
Sainz added that it is “very difficult” to know Formula 1’s pecking order as the teams are still learning about their all-new cars.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
New Ferrari trickier to drive in Bahrain heat
Carlos Sainz feels the Ferrari is trickier to drive in the Bahrain heat.