Lewis Hamilton Max Verstappen

Arnab Bose

Sandbagging Speculation Emerges As Lewis Hamilton Beats Max Verstappen In Bahrain

Sir Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen are the modern-day arch-rivals in Formula One. Their rivalry has taken center stage in the sport since 2021. Moreover, the Dutch driver broke the streak of the seven-time champion in 2021. Otherwise, the Mercedes star was going to win his fifth title on the trot that year. He could have surpassed Michael Schumacher, winning his eighth title in 2021. However, the F1 fans were waiting for an epic finale in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The race director, Michael Masi, made some controversial calls that gave Max Verstappen an advantage over Hamilton. In the end, the Dutch racer won his maiden World Championship.

Since the following year, Lewis Hamilton remained winless. Never before had the seven-time champion had to wait over two years to win a race in his F1 career. But Mercedes failed to provide him with the right car to challenge for the title ever since the cost cap era began. On the other hand, Max Verstappen broke several records over the last two years. He won 34 races since 2022. Now, the F1 world is getting ready for the new season. Lately, in the FP2 in Bahrain, Lewis Hamilton was way faster than Max Verstappen. Is this for real, or are they sandbagging?

   

Sandbagging Speculations Regarding Lewis Hamilton Beating Max Verstappen In FP2

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Max Verstappen Red Bull Handshake
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Max Verstappen Red Bull Handshake Source: PlanetF1

On Thursday, Lewis Hamilton displayed an impressive pace on W15. However, experts warned Mercedes and the fans of “Sandbagging.” In FP2, the triple-time world champion could only manage a P6. The second practice session of the opening Grand Prix saw Lewis Hamilton top the timesheet with a Mercedes 1-2. Ahead of qualifying, the true potential of every F1 team and their cars may still be a mystery. Lewis Hamilton had the top time of 1:30.374. Max Verstappen was +0.477 slower than Hamilton. Surprisingly, the Dutchman was only slightly faster than Nico Hulkenberg of Haas.

Later, on Sky Sports, the 1996 F1 World Champion mentioned the RB20 is not one-tenth quicker than the Haas car. Moreover, Damon Hill mentioned that every team is trying to show what they are capable of doing. But Hill feels there is something in the Red Bull’s P6 finish. If Max needs to be faster than the Mercedes, Hill suggests they may have to take a lot of fuel out for the reigning champion. Lately, Hill suggests that everybody is “Sandbagging a bit.” Moreover, Hill praised the new Mercedes challenger, saying, they may have work on their setup. It was not jittering around. 

Mercedes Might Fear The Bouncing Problems To Return

Lewis Hamilton George Russell Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton George Russell Mercedes Source: GPblog

Ahead of the first day of practice in Bahrain, George Russell warned that bouncing problems might happen again with W15. Later, on Sky Sports, Naomi Schiff mentioned bouncing had been the issue for Mercedes in the previous two seasons. The Silver Arrows may had a car with potential past two years.

But when they ran them at the optimum window, those cars generated bouncing. Schiff mentioned that the car looks better this time around. Moreover, it is a lot more stable. Also, Schiff said Lando Norris faced issues with his McLaren car. The car might be nervous in the windy conditions of the Middle East.

Stay tuned with http://www.sportsnewsinternational.com/ for more such updates about your favorite F1 team.