Red Bull Racing advisor Helmut Marko became the latest to mock Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes team for stating that they will not be competitive at the start of the 2022 Formula 1 season. Max Verstappen has already scoffed at the claims and is certain the Silver Arrows will be competing for the win in Bahrain this weekend.

Hamilton claimed that Mercedes are not ready to compete for wins as it stands, owing to issues with their car. The Briton's new teammate, George Russell, also believes the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull are ahead of the reigning constructors' champions.

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz was the first to call Mercedes out, and said it was typical of the Brackley-based team to make such comments. This is not the first time the reigning champions have complained about their testing form, only to come out swinging at the first race and finish on the top step of the podium.

"I think it's typical Mercedes, typical George," Sainz said, as quoted on Planet F1. "Just hype up the others and then come to the first race and blow the competition away, which is typical."

Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton (left) and George Russell (right) pose alongside Mercedes chief Toto Wolff Steve Etherington/MERCEDES-BENZ via AFP

"If it would be the first year they've done it then I would maybe believe them, but they have done it for five, six years now and they keep [performing] in the first race," he added. "So as you can imagine, I don't think much [of the comments] and yes, already in GPS [data] we can also see what they are doing and yes, I'm not going to say much... yes, I'm not going to say much."

Marko agreed with the former Toro Rosso driver, and is certain despite Mercedes' whining over their car troubles, they will go "boom" at the first race of the season. But the Red Bull advisor did admit that the Silver Arrows need to fix the porpoising problem to ensure they do not suffer reliability issues.

"We know Ferrari have built a compact car that is also very reliable," he told Sport1. "But we also know Mercedes – they always whine during the test drives and then it suddenly goes boom. It was the same last year. They also had problems during the test and still won the first race."

"Our big update worked as expected in Bahrain. Both drivers get along very well with the car," he added. "We also don't have a major issue with hopping on the straights, which can particularly affect reliability. Mercedes still have to get this under control."

Lewis Hamilton
Max Verstappen won an epic season-long battle with reigning champion Lewis Hamilton ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP