The great Mercedes bluff in Abu Dhabi
Red Bull won the final in Abu Dhabi with ease. But did Mercedes really deliver a realistic picture there?
Lewis Hamilton was not 100% back in Abu Dhabi after his corona infection
© LAT / Mercedes
At Mercedes, the cheerful mood from the enemy camp was accepted. Red Bull’s strength was praised and it was acknowledged that Abu Dhabi was no match for the beverage producers from Austria. Strange: Still, there was no sign of hectic or frustration. Toto Wolff’s admission of defeat was more like someone who knew exactly why he lost. Who wrote the script for the last race and gave up the lead on purpose.
Alone: Not only AUTO BILD Motorsport believes that Mercedes has deliberately given the victory to lull the supposed main opponent for the 2021 season in safety. At Red Bull, too, there are high-ranking team members who have seen through the bluff of the Daimler strategists around the Viennese slacker Toto Wolff.
There are three arguments that give Red Bull food for thought and that could have masked the true Mercedes strengths.
Second: Unlike Red Bull, Mercedes used aerodynamic parts in Abu Dhabi (e.g. an underbody) that were already tailored for 2021. With the current car, therefore, no optimal coordination was possible. In return, Mercedes received valuable data for the new car.
Hamilton not yet fit
Overall, the ABMS source suspects, “all of this made Mercedes half a second slower than normal per lap. At least. They want to make us safe. In order to strike again during the first test drives and then to put the opponents in a collective state of shock at the start of the season, as it actually does every year. “
Qualifying would have turned out similarly: With 25 thousandths of a second, Verstappen just got the upper hand against the “Mogel-Mercedes”. The “Black Arrow” in normal mode would not have given the Red Bull a chance.
© Red Bull Content Pool
Chief advisor Helmut Marko (77) saw through the Mercedes deception tactics. At F1-Insider.com he is aware that the performance in Abu Dhabi was not realistic: “I know that Mercedes slowed itself down. I said that to my euphoric English people on the team. We will therefore not slow down our development, but develop as if we had to catch up. “
Nevertheless, the doctor of law is certain: “We caught up in the course of the 2020 season. We could have won the second race in Bahrain if Max hadn’t been cleared by Leclerc. ”
Alone: That was the race in which youngster George Russell (the Mercedes junior was loaned from Williams) had shone as a Hamilton replacement and Bottas was completely off the track. That should definitely be included in this optimistic calculation.
One thing is certain: Red Bull and Honda must be warned. Otherwise there will be great disillusionment again in 2021.