Max Verstappen pipped Valtteri Bottas to end up fastest in the final practice ahead of the qualifying session for the inaugural Sakhir Grand Prix. George Russell finished seventh fastest on his Mercedes debut.
Just as last weekend, drivers were not in a rush to start their final preparation for the qualifying session as they were waiting for the track conditions to get more representative. Haas’ debutant Pietro Fittipaldi was the first to head out onto the track. The Brazilian registered the first timed lap on the leaderboard with a 56.249 on the soft tyre.
Following a long break of around 15 minutes, drivers slowly started to roll out onto the Outer Loop Bahrain Circuit, breaking the silence in the evening. Following the first runs, Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas led the order with a time of 54.523 that he achieved on Pirelli’s red-walled tyres.
Drivers were split in terms of tyre compounds. Max Verstappen was also among the drivers to complete his first run on the white-walled Hard rubber. The Belgian-born Dutchman was third fastest following his first run, which indicated that he had more in reserve.
That impression turned out to be the right one as the Dutchman surprised his rivals by posting the best time of the weekend with a 54.064 when he rejoined the action on the soft tyres. Making a mistake in the final sector on his best lap, Bottas ended up just behind Verstappen with yesterday’s sensation George Russell failing to get higher up than seventh on the order.
Ferrari endured another difficult practice session. Charles Leclerc finished in the 13th position, setting a time of 54.854. Trying to make up for the time lost in FP2, the Monegasque racked up a total of 21 laps.
On the other side of the garage, Sebastian Vettel had a pretty straightforward session until he was dogged by technical problems. The German was forced to pit on his second stint with issues related to the power unit of his SF1000. Ferrari confirmed on Twitter that the mechanics will change the PU in Vettel’s car for precautionary reasons.
The two Haas and Williams drivers finished at the bottom of the order with Kevin Magnussen leading the quartett. The Dane was three tenths of a second quicker than Pietro Fittipaldi, who is replacing the injured Romain Grosjean this weekend.
At Williams, regular driver Nicholas Latifi was ahead, but F2 racer Jack Aitken was by just two tenths of a second slower than the Canadian.
|1||33||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING HONDA||54.064||23|
|3||10||Pierre Gasly||ALPHATAURI HONDA||54.427||+0.363s||24|
|5||4||Lando Norris||MCLAREN RENAULT||54.606||+0.542s||15|
|6||23||Alexander Albon||RED BULL RACING HONDA||54.629||+0.565s||22|
|8||11||Sergio Perez||RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES||54.678||+0.614s||20|
|9||18||Lance Stroll||RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES||54.693||+0.629s||18|
|10||55||Carlos Sainz||MCLAREN RENAULT||54.720||+0.656s||16|
|11||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||54.845||+0.781s||20|
|12||26||Daniil Kvyat||ALPHATAURI HONDA||54.850||+0.786s||23|
|16||7||Kimi Räikkönen||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||55.171||+1.107s||20|
|17||20||Kevin Magnussen||HAAS FERRARI||55.347||+1.283s||19|
|18||6||Nicholas Latifi||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||55.493||+1.429s||21|
|19||51||Pietro Fittipaldi||HAAS FERRARI||55.666||+1.602s||21|
|20||89||Jack Aitken||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||55.670||+1.606s||23|