Max Verstappen believes that Mercedes did not show their true speed in the pre-season tests and that he saw what were they doing 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 its 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 with one step softer tires, Verstappen, taught by experience from previous years, doesn’t want to be fooled by Mercedes’ performance.

“You can see what they’re doing,” Verstappen told Dutch media Ziggo Sport.

“They drove their fastest lap with less power, and then they drove two laps slowly. And the lap behind that they drove with half a second more power out of the engine.”

“So they’re fast, no doubt. Of course they’ll try to push us into the role of favorites, and then they show up at the top again and it’s all genious!”

“They did that in some races last year. On Friday they would say ‘Red Bull looks very strong,’ but deep down I knew that wasn’t the case.”

“Then they’d be on top again on Saturday and I thought ‘oh, wonderful!’

2021 Bahrain F1 Test Sunday Day 3 Verstappen Red Bull C2 Pirelli Photo Red Bull
Max Verstappen, Red Bull RB6B (Photo: Red Bull)

Mercedes believes that Red Bull in Bahrain will be the team to beat, 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 speed advantage they have shown last season.

“If you’ve been so dominant for the last seven years and you have such a dominant car, even if you have the worst floor under your car you’re still good. That’s why I still see Mercedes as a favorite,” Verstappen said.

“Seven years in a row they’ve won everything so I don’t see myself as a favorite at all.”

“I’m happy with what we did in the tests and I’m happy with the balance of the car. Is that good enough? I have no idea. We’ll see in Q3.”

2021 BAHRAIN GP TIMETABLE

1st free practice Fri 14:30
2nd free practice Fri 18:00
3rd free practice Sat 15:00
Qualifying Sat 18:00
Race Sun 18:10
All times are track times for that location. You can switch to your timezone () below. Time on trackYour local time
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