“I don’t think we are the favorites” – Max Verstappen believes Mercedes still have the edge over Red Bull, despite the latter’s dominant performance in Bahrain pre-season testing.
Red Bull capped off impressive pre-season testing with Max Verstappen finishing P1 on Sunday. Both he and Sergio Perez had impressive performances over the three days, and look good heading into the season-opener at Bahrain.
But the Dutchman believes this doesn’t give any indication of them mounting a successful challenge to Mercedes this season. Instead, he wants to focus on their improvements, considering how far adrift they were to the German giants last season.
“Yeah, definitely I think it has been the best [pre-season]. But it doesn’t give you any guarantees. We’ll find out through the first race weekend where we are.”
“We always look into what we can improve. For sure there are some things we want to work on. But I guess every team has that.”
The @Aramco Pre-Season Test completed ✅
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 14, 2021
Max Verstappen rejects Mercedes’ opinion
Mercedes engineering director Andrew Shovlin, on his part, feels Red Bull is muck quicker than them. This had led to many suggestions that Mercedes are sandbagging, something which Valtteri Bottas sarcastically refuted.
“We’ve made a bit of progress with the balance on higher fuel and the car was more predictable. But we can see from the data we’ve collected over the last few days that on race pace, we’re not as quick as Red Bull.
Verstappen flatly disagreed with this assessment, hinting at how strong Mercedes becomes as the race weekend approaches. Either way, it is going to be a fascinating season, especially if Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Alpine, and Aston Martin rise to the occasion.
“I don’t think we are the favorites. If Mercedes wins that many Championships in a row, I think it’s still the same as before we came to the test.”