Verstappen says 'nobody is giving full beans' after topping final preseason session
- Max Verstappen topped the final pre-season session in Bahrain
- He and the other 19 drivers will kick off the 2022 season next week
- The Red Bull driver warned rivals that his team had not shown their full hands
Talking after the session, the Red Bull driver warned rivals that his team had not shown their full hands. He further added that there was more to come and the timing was irrelevant.
“Nobody is [giving it] full beans in qualifying-spec at the moment. Of course [the car is] better in low fuel and actually on the high fuel the car… doesn’t really do a lot, but it’s the same for everyone. So we can’t read too much into the timing screens," the Dutch driver said.
Verstappen added that the team is currently focusing on the tyres they will use next weekend.
“It was just a general progression of the day and we were just trying a few different tyres. But I think the main focus was about the tyres, [which] we’re going to use next week. But the car was feeling alright, and we went through our programme which we planned to do, and that’s always positive," he added.
Max Verstappen had defeated arch-rival Lewis Hamilton in a last lap drama in the 2021 season finale at Abu Dhabi last year. The Mercedes driver, who is also a seven-time champion is looking to grab his crown back from the Dutchman.
Hamilton, however, was not optimistic about how Mercedes will fare when the season starts next weekend.
Although it’s only testing, which can be misleading because teams sometimes have something in reserve, the task could prove harder than envisaged for the British veteran with a record 103 race wins.
Verstappen looked to be in that sleek pole position mode — he led F1 with 10 poles last year — beating his own leading time near the end, and going so fast at one point he even did a 360 spin.
Running with the RB18's upgraded sidepods and floor that clearly worked, Verstappen clocked a leading time of 1 minute, 31.720 seconds, the fastest across the three days of testing in Bahrain.
He was around .5 seconds ahead of Mick Schumacher, who moved up when driving alone as the American-owned Haas team was granted two extra hours after everyone finished.
That was agreed in order to make up time lost on Wednesday, after the late arrival of freight shipments left Haas unable to join in Thursday morning’s first session.
Before Schumacher's late effort, Verstappen placed .7 seconds ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc when the session ended under floodlights, and in conditions similar to next Sunday's opening race on the same Sakhir circuit.
Hamilton was 4.5 seconds behind Verstappen in 17th spot, although when he drove earlier in the day the conditions were less suitable than in the afternoon and evening.
“We’re not the quickest at the moment, I think Ferrari look to be the quickest. Perhaps Red Bull and then maybe us," Hamilton said. “But we’re certainly not at the top.”