“Sandbagging” or Genuine Struggles? – Mercedes Fans Fear Gremlins To Persist As Glaring W14 Shortcoming Is Noticed

Published 02/24/2023, 6:00 AM EST

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Bahrain International Circuit is currently hosting the annual pre-season testing of Formula 1. As the teams get ready for the upcoming season, drivers took their cars out for three days of testing. As the testing is currently in place, team Mercedes failed to make much of an impact after day 1 at the time of publishing this article. With hugely short on speed, the Silver Arrows created fear amongst fans even before the season began. However, is there a catch? Are Mercedes sandbagging? Fans share their thoughts on it.

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As per AMUS and Fastest Pitstop, Red Bull, Ferrari, Williams, Haas, AlphaTauri, and McLaren were the fastest team after session one of day one of testing. Interestingly, Mercedes didn’t make it in the top five when it comes to top speed. Moreover, as per the F1 timesheet, Max Verstappen topped the chart followed by Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz, Alex Albon, Zhou Guanyu, George Russell, Nico Hulkenberg, Felipe Drugovich, Yuki Tsunoda, Pierre Gasly, Oscar Piastri.

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Essentially, sandbagging refers to an action where someone, in this case, the F1 car deliberately underperforms in order to hide its true potential and keep the rivals’ teams at bay. The teams then unleash their full potential during the qualifications and then in the race days and hence work out sandbagging perfectly.

Fans react as Mercedes fails to make an impact on testing

As soon as the Fastest Pitstop shared a snapshot of the top speed from all teams as per AMUS, fans shared their reactions to it. Most of the fans, however, were sure that the Silver Arrows, who are glory hungry this year, might be playing a trick on their rivals and sandbagging as a result.

Given below are some of the reactions taken from Twitter:

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The three-day testing is of titanic importance for the F1 teams before the business resumes on March 3 for the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix. The results of the testing at times set a team towards the winning course. However, not all teams reveal their full potential during the trials and hence use the method of sandbagging.

Coming back to the reactions, there are more:

 

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However, one must admit that all these timings are just test timings and greatly vary with that of qualifying or racing times. The Silver Arrows fans can only hope that this is exactly what they are going to witness on March 4, the first-ever qualifying session in 2023.

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Do you feel Mercedes W14 has the potential to match RB-19 and SF-23? Let us know.

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Written by:

Sabyasachi Biswas

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Sabyasachi Biswas is an F1 and NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. He has completed his Master's in Mass Communication and Journalism from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. Sabyasachi is an ardent Red Bull and Max Verstappen fan and has been following the sport for over a decade now.
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Edited by:

Varunkumaar Chelladurai

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