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Mercedes denies 'deceiving' with practice pace

Mercedes denies 'deceiving' with practice pace
© Reuters
Both Ferrari and Mercedes have urged F1 fans to take little notice of the results of practice sessions.

Both Ferrari and Mercedes have urged F1 fans to take little notice of the results of practice sessions.

In Baku, it appeared that Ferrari had once again gotten the upper hand in 2019, only for Mercedes to cruise to a 1-2 in both qualifying and the race.

One theory is that Mercedes deliberately sandbags in practice.

"We are not trying to deceive anyone," Mercedes boss Toto Wolff insists.

"You could say 'Enough, stop. This is the fourth time'. But we actually believe that we still have much to understand and improve about our new car," he said.

"Our success in the first races is due to many factors. The team made no mistakes, the right strategy decisions, and the drivers have been perfect.

"All of that allowed us to win the first four races, while our rivals had more problems," added Wolff.

Ferrari's Mattia Binotto agrees.

"I have repeatedly said that we should not overestimate the results of the practices," he said, after Ferrari dominated the timesheets in Baku until qualifying.

"The teams work on different programs with different levels of fuel and different engine settings, so it is very difficult to draw conclusions on that basis."

However, Binotto admits that before Charles Leclerc crashed, he thought pole in Baku was a possibility.

"As for the race, there are also reasons," said the Italian.

"For one, depending on whether you are in front or behind means you work differently with the tyres. It's much easier to drive with an empty track ahead of you.

"And of course, our rivals were also very strong," Binotto added.

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Sebastian Vettel pictured at the Chinese GP on April 12, 2019
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States20241660
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia12191344
Great BritainGreat Britain10101232
Today's Olympic highlights header

Monday's key events

· There are no Brits in the women's 100m hurdles final, but Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, fresh from breaking the Olympic record in the semis, will hope to pip world record holder Kendra Harrison to gold (3.50am)
· The women's 5000m final also has no Team GB representation, but two-time world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya will be looking to add an Olympic gold to her list of honours (1.40pm)

· The women's skiff 49er FX (6.33am) and men's skiff 49er (7.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races

· A place in the women's gold medal match is up for grabs, starting with an all-North American semi-final between United States and Canada (9am)
· Australia, who edged past Team GB's in a seven-goal quarter-final thriller, take on Sweden in the second semi-final (12pm)

· The track cycling schedule gets underway, with Team GB holding a particular interest in the team pursuit qualifying. Laura Kenny is part of the women's team (7.54am), while the men's team includes Ed Clancy (9.02am)

· The Gadirova twins Jessica and Jennifer will both take part in the women's floor final as they look to add to their team bronze (9.57am)

· Newly-crowned European champion Emily Campbell flies the flag for Great Britain in the women's +87kg, but faces stiff competition for medals from China's Li Wenwen and New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard (11.50am)

· The women's hockey quarter-finals begin, with Team GB last up against Spain (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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