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.
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||1:32.544||14|
|3||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||1:32.791||+0.247s||19|
|7||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:33.437||+0.893s||14|
|8||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:33.733||+1.189s||20|
|9||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:33.880||+1.336s||17|
|10||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:33.920||+1.376s||13|
|11||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:33.955||+1.411s||17|
|12||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:33.971||+1.427s||17|
|13||10||Pierre Gasly||Alphatauri Rbpt||1:34.176||+1.632s||17|
|14||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari||1:34.295||+1.751s||16|
|15||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Mclaren Mercedes||1:34.378||+1.834s||19|
|16||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault||1:34.628||+2.084s||14|
|17||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||1:34.868||+2.324s||14|
|18||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:34.957||+2.413s||15|
|19||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||1:35.667||+3.123s||13|