Carlos Sainz reckons George Russell's comments about Ferrari's supposed pre-season superiority are "typical Mercedes", and that the Silver Arrows could still turn up at the first race and "blow everyone away".
During the Barcelona test, Russell spoke about Ferrari's pace as the Scuderia impressed across all three days of track action, with the new Mercedes driver pinpointing Ferrari and McLaren as the pace-setters.
"They seem to have things well under control and they're on top of everything," Russell said at the time.
"They look very strong on low fuel, high fuel, and with the tyre management.
"Who knows? We all know that we're on different programmes, but we definitely know from the average of all of the different runs that we're behind them at the moment."
Russell backed up these comments as the F1 paddock reconvened in Bahrain for the second pre-season test.
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Sainz coy about Russell comments: "It's typical Mercedes"
But Sainz poured cold water on Russell's remarks, saying he has no reason to believe such a statement.
"If it would be the first year that they'd done it, then I would maybe believe them," Sainz told media, including RacingNews365.com, in Bahrain on Friday.
"But they've done it for five or six years now and they keep surprising us in the first race so, as you can imagine, I don't believe much.
"In the GPS, we can also see what they're doing and... yeah, I'm not gonna say much but...
"I think it's typical Mercedes, typical George – just hype up the others and then come to the first race and blow the competition away, which is typical."
Sainz's comments come as Mercedes showed up for Bahrain testing with a radically revised W13, boasting streamlined sidepods that have caught the attention of the paddock.
However, so far during the two days of testing, Ferrari have been closer to the top of the times – Charles Leclerc finished Friday morning second-fastest, with Russell in ninth in the W13 and 4.2 seconds slower.
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