Mercedes may have endured a tricky three days of pre-season testing in Bahrain, but Red Bull driver Max Verstappen is not getting too ahead of himself.
Red Bull’s Verstappen and Sergio Perez seemed rather confident and fast, while Mercedes faced issues with the gearshift on the opening day.
The second day saw the team transport Lewis Hamilton’s car back to the pits after he beached it in the gravel.
Verstappen has claimed to have knowledge about Mercedes’ run programme and believes the Silver Arrows are fast.
“They are indeed fast,” Verstappen told Dutch broadcaster Ziggo Sports.
“We could see what they were doing on the data. They drove their first fast lap with less power.
“Then they drove two quiet laps, followed by a second flying lap. In that, they won half a second on engine power.”
The young Dutchman said reading too much into Hamilton’s two spins would be silly.
“The wind had turned 180 degrees from the first day and in that corner you always got a bit unsettled,” said the 23-year-old.
“We shouldn’t look too much into it. Maybe Mercedes were a bit off with the set-up on the first day, but the last day it looked much more stable.
“They also scheduled two filming days in Bahrain before the first Grand Prix.”
Verstappen said he feels Red Bull and Mercedes will battle it out for the top spot, while McLaren would end in third position.
“I expect Mercedes and us will be close to each other,” he said.
“Behind that it is difficult to predict, but I think McLaren are the third team.”