F1: Habitual sandbagger Lewis Hamilton adamant 2022 Mercedes cannot win races

We hear the same whining out of Lewis Hamilton every preseason – my car will not be able to win races at the start of the season.

Then the habitual sandbagger goes out and wins the opening races of the season.

Mercedes have won the opening race of the season in each of the last three seasons.

2022 Bahrain Pre-Season Test, Day 3 – LAT Photo for Mercedes. Is sandbagging Lewis Hamilton lying through his teeth once again?

Although Mercedes set the fastest time to start pre-season in Barcelona and turned heads at the start of this week’s final test with a radical new-look W13 car, they have been quiet in terms of notable lap times in Bahrain….because they are sandbagging to hide just how superior their new design is,

However, Hamilton says Mercedes are genuinely struggling to extract performance under the hugely altered design regulations for 2022.

“It is too early to have those kind of thoughts about the world championship, but at the moment I don’t think we will be competing for wins,” the seven-time champion stated after completing 78 laps on Saturday morning.

“There is potential within our car to get us there. We’ve just got to learn to be able to extract it and fix some of the problems, which is what we’re working on.”

Hamilton added: “We have some hurdles to overcome and obviously next week we’ll get a much better showing of our pace, but I think people will be surprised, because people keep talking about whether we’re talking ourselves down or not, but it’s a bit different this year.”

“We’re not the quickest at the moment. I think Ferrari look to be the quickest and perhaps Red Bull and then maybe us or McLaren – but we’re currently not at the top.”

Last year Mercedes sandbagged as late as free practice at the opening race in Bahrain, before Hamilton went on to win, but the seven-time world champion insists things will not be the same this year.

“No it feels a lot different,” he added. “It’s not as good. It’s not going to look as good as it did last year with the difficult session we had in practice and then switch over to the race.

“I think we have far bigger challenges this time and they’re not one-week turnarounds, I think they’ll take a little bit longer, but from what I’m told, we have a significant amount of pace to find.”

“I think everyone is struggling out on this bumpy track. We come out of it knowing that we still have a lot of work to do.

“There’s a confidence that we can always work through whatever problem that we’re facing, yes.”

“I was quite surprised to be fighting with Lewis for a couple of laps in testing,” Pierre Gasly said. “It was entertaining, it was interesting also to follow and get some data and feeling from following other cars.

“I could see Lewis was struggling as well, and I can see they do have some work to be fighting right at the top.”

Or did they purposely set the car up to handle poorly to hide their real performance, which they will unleash in a week’s time?

Will someone please get the boy a crying towel!