‘We Are Sandbagging’: Valtteri Bottas Jokes About Mercedes’ Testing Woes

Some F1 fans had speculated that Mercedes were “sandbagging” in a bid to surprise their rivals when the season gets underway later this month.

Valtteri Bottas says Mercedes are sandbagging - Formula1News.co.uk

Pre-season testing did not go well for the Mercedes F1 Team, with Valtteri Bottas missing most of the Friday morning session due to a gearbox issue and Sir Lewis Hamilton then struggling for pace in the afternoon.

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Things continued to go badly on Saturday, as Hamilton had a spin in the morning session and beached his Mercedes W12 in the gravel.  

And in today’s morning session, Bottas struggled with the W12 and managed a fastest lap time only good enough for seventh on the time sheet, though he at least managed to complete 80 laps of the Bahrain International Circuit.

The Finn admitted that Mercedes’ 2021 challenger is “quite snappy and unforgiving”, and he later joked that the Silver Arrows are simply “sandbagging” rather than actually struggling in pre-season testing.

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When asked by Ted Kravitz if pre-season testing had been “plain sailing” or if there’s more work for Mercedes to do, Bottas replied: “Well, you know, we are sandbagging, always in testing, so that’s it.”

At this stage, it’s difficult to say for sure that Mercedes still have the fastest car on the grid, as there are so many different variables at play in testing.

However, the Silver Arrows will certainly go into the new season as favourites based on their domination of the turbo-hybrid era of Formula One and their comfortable margin of victory in both Championships last year. 

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