FP3: Verstappen tops final practice as Mercedes gains momentum

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuitbh

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen set the pace in the third and final practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix as Mercedes seemingly presented itself in a much improved shape ahead of the all-important qualifying session.

The third practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix is usually a less representative action as both qualifying and the race itself take place in cooler temperatures which completely alters the way the tyres and aerodynamics of the car behave. Nevertheless the field was eager to gain some more experiences before the action goes serious with the revolutionary new F1 cars this evening.

Max Verstappen topped the session with a time of 1m32.544s, using Pirelli’s soft compound. The Dutchman used two sets of C3 which indicates that he wanted to save fresh sets of medium and hard compounds for the remainder of the weekend. His team mate Sergio Perez lacked pace during his first stint, but gained momentum when he bolted on a second set of fresh C3 rubber, finishing the session P3.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc split the Red Bull duo with only 0.096s adrift of Verstappen’s benchmark. The Monegasque suffered a spin into the Turn 11 gravel when he was seemingly two greedy at the exit of the corner. His team mate Carlos Sainz was unable to keep up with the pace of Leclerc and ended up fifth fastest almost half a second off.

Following its troubles, Mercedes was arguably in a better form compared to yesterday’s practice sessions. George Russell took fourth 0.4s off the pace, having complained of understeer in low-speed corners early on while his team mate Lewis Hamilton took sixth, six-tenths off.

Ferrari’s two customer teams, Haas and Alfa Romeo continued to show good pace in the final practice session. Formula One returnee Kevin Magnussen finished seventh, only nine tenths of a second adrift of the session’s fastest lap time. His team mate Mick Schumacher took fourteenth, but his sector times indicated that there is more to come from the Swiss-born German driver.

The Italo-Swiss squad Alfa Romeo completed another encouraging session with Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu ending up P8 and P9 respectively.

The Aston Martin duo of Lance Stroll and Nico Hülkenberg had another low-key session with the Canadian finishing P10 and the German ending up P12.

Following their strong showing on Friday, the Enstone based outfit Alpine did not show their hand in FP3, forgoing soft-tyred runs to put Fernando Alonso 16th and Esteban Ocon 18th.

AlphaTauri continued to be a mistery after Pierre Gasly only managed to set the 13rd fastest time. His team mate Yuki Tsunoda was forced to miss the session after the Faenza based outfit detected a hydraulic problem when the Japanese driver wanted to leave the garage.

Williams driver Nicholas Latifi rounded off the timing sheets with almost three seconds off the pace while Formula One returnee Alexander Albon steered his Williams two places higher on the order.


11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:32.54414
216Charles LeclercFerrari1:32.640+0.096s15
311Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:32.791+0.247s19
463George RussellMercedes1:32.935+0.391s18
555Carlos SainzFerrari1:33.053+0.509s19
644Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:33.121+0.577s14
720Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:33.437+0.893s14
877Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:33.733+1.189s20
924Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:33.880+1.336s17
1018Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:33.920+1.376s13
114Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:33.955+1.411s17
1227Nico HulkenbergAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:33.971+1.427s17
1310Pierre GaslyAlphatauri Rbpt1:34.176+1.632s17
1447Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari1:34.295+1.751s16
153Daniel RicciardoMclaren Mercedes1:34.378+1.834s19
1614Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault1:34.628+2.084s14
1723Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:34.868+2.324s14
1831Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:34.957+2.413s15
196Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes1:35.667+3.123s13