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Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18
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Analysis

Why Red Bull and Ferrari really start as F1’s early 2022 ‘favourites’

The business of predicting outcomes based on testing results fraught with peril. But while Red Bull ended Bahrain's pre-season test on top, it appears to have different company at the front of the new ‘favourites’ group, with Ferrari enjoying a strong start to its 2022 campaign and Mercedes seemingly off the pace. But the reasons why are deeper than the headline times suggest

He came out of the final corner poised to show exactly what he could do on the softest tyres Pirelli has produced for the coming campaign. He’d treated them carefully through the warm-up lap around the abrasive 3.36-miles of the Bahrain International Circuit. It was close to the same conditions as qualifying will be in the season opener, now just around the corner. He is the Formula 1 world champion; the rest must chase.

Then came sudden, unexpected disaster. The rears lit up suddenly and around he went. This was Lewis Hamilton at the very end of pre-season testing in 2021, but exactly the same thing happened to Max Verstappen in 2022.

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