Mercedes had a shocking outing on all three days of pre-season testing in Bahrain. The team struggled with reliability and in general, their grief was compounded by the fact that Red Bull seemed to notch good speeds with little trouble.
The Silver Arrows eventually clocked the fewest number of laps out of all teams. This led certain people into believing that the team is sandbagging.
Team principal Toto Wolff has finally addressed these concerns. It is worth noting that Hamilton also faced problems with his new challenger and even spun out on the track.
Some are speculating that Mercedes’ long dominance may finally be coming to an end, while others believe they are just misleading their rivals.
In an interview with ORF, Wolff said, “We’ve had some great performances over the years and that is why everyone is saying that we are sandbagging.
“I think that we were the team that was running with the most fuel, but regardless the car was a bit toxic to drive and fairly unstable, especially with the crosswind.
“It seems like we have a small diva, like the car from two years ago, that we haven’t really understood yet.”
Meanwhile, Valtteri Bottas admitted that the team is facing some trouble, but insisted that they would get it all sorted out by the time the season begins.
“Well, you know, we are sandbagging, always in testing, so that’s it.I absolutely believe the car and the team, it has the potential to win the title,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s yet there as a package in terms of performance, but I’ve no doubt we will work hard to find it somehow.”
Many believe this is Bottas’ last chance to salvage a future drive for himself. Do you believe he will give Hamilton fiercer competition this season?