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Brundle warns against 'writing Mercedes off'

Brundle warns against 'writing Mercedes off'

Brundle warns against 'writing Mercedes off'

Brundle warns against 'writing Mercedes off'

Martin Brundle has warned against 'writing Mercedes off' ahead of the new F1 season.

The Silver Arrows had an uninspiring pre-season test in Bahrain having gone fastest at the first outing in Barcelona, with balance issues contributing to understeer on high-fuel runs.

George Russell in particular seemed to struggle with the W13's balance, with lock-ups a common theme for the Briton through turns nine and 10 at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Red Bull and Ferrari enjoyed strong tests with Max Verstappen setting a blistering lap time on the final day of running, but former F1 driver-turned-pundit Brundle has insisted Mercedes will find pace before racing begins.

"The car looks a handful but who would you put in front of them?" questioned Brundle, speaking for Sky Sports F1. "I'd go Mercedes [in third].

"Don't write them off, Mercedes. I'm sure when they turn up... even in race one, they'll be quite a bit faster."

Referring to McLaren, which was plagued by brake issues in Bahrain, Brundle added: "I think judging by previous tests I think you'd have to put McLaren in there for fourth, but it's quite close behind them."

McLaren - "Fingers crossed" for brake issue fix

McLaren was not the only team to experience difficulties through testing, with Haas and Williams both struggling with gremlins throughout their programmes.

Despite two fast laps from Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher, Mercedes simulation driver Anthony Davidson suggested: "Based on the test from what I've seen, both lap times and on track, the way the car has behaved, the Haas and the Williams, unfortunately, I probably have to say are at the lower end of the field.

Addressing concerns over McLaren's prospects, Davidson said: "The other, maybe more important question is, who's going to finish the race?

"Who's got the reliability on their side? So far you'd have to say this test hasn't looked brilliant for McLaren with the brake issue, fingers crossed they can turn that around in a week's time."

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