Sandbagging Mercedes denies ‘deceiving’ with practice pace

Can you tell I'm lying?
Can you tell I'm lying?

(GMM) Both Ferrari and Mercedes have urged F1 fans to take little notice of the results of practice sessions.

In Baku, it appeared that Ferrari had once again gotten the upper hand in 2019, only for Mercedes to cruise to a 1-2 in both qualifying and the race.

One theory is that Mercedes deliberately sandbags in practice.

"We are not trying to deceive anyone," Mercedes boss Toto Wolff insists.

"You could say 'Enough, stop. This is the fourth time'. But we actually believe that we still have much to understand and improve about our new car," he said.

"Our success in the first races is due to many factors. The team made no mistakes, the right strategy decisions, and the drivers have been perfect.

"All of that allowed us to win the first four races, while our rivals had more problems," added Wolff.

Ferrari's Mattia Binotto agrees.

"I have repeatedly said that we should not overestimate the results of the practices," he said, after Ferrari dominated the timesheets in Baku until qualifying.

"The teams work on different programs with different levels of fuel and different engine settings, so it is very difficult to draw conclusions on that basis."

However, Binotto admits that before Charles Leclerc crashed, he thought pole in Baku was a possibility.

"As for the race, there are also reasons," said the Italian.

"For one, depending on whether you are in front or behind means you work differently with the tires. It's much easier to drive with an empty track ahead of you.

"And of course, our rivals were also very strong," Binotto added.

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