Verstappen keeps Red Bull on top in FP3

Verstappen keeps Red Bull on top in FP3, F1 Daily

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Red Bull driver Max Verstappen continued his strong showing in the third and final practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix, topping the last session with a time of 1m30.577.

Drivers were in no rush to venture out to the track as they were all waiting for the temperatures to drop to have more representative conditions. With 50 minutes left on the clock, Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas ventured out to the Bahrain circuit to get a feel for his W12. His race engineer Riccardo Musconi warned the Finn on the radio that he had to pay attention to head wind.

The Finn recorded a 1:33.372 on his first lap, but that was deleted as he exceeded the track limits at Turn 4. His team mate Lewis Hamilton quickly took over the lead with a time of 1m32.897.

Underlining Red Bull’s great pace, Max Verstappen posted a 1:32.617 on Pirelli’s Hard compound to fly to the top of the leaderboard. His team mate Sergio Perez needed a few laps to get up to speed, but he finally clocked in a time of 1:33.897 to go fourth fastest in the early part of the session.

Initially, drivers were suffering from the hot air and track conditions which resulted in a poor grip level.

When the time arrived for the second set of fresh Pirelli tyres, Mercedes surprised with fantastic laps from both Hamilton and Bottas. The Finn registered a time of 1m31.855 which helped him top the session before his team mate usurped the lead with a time of 1m31.316.

Perez was unable to challenge the Mercedes drivers, but his team mate Verstappen put in a fantastic effort to deliver a time of 1m30.577, going over seven tenths of a second quicker than Hamilton.

The Ferrari drivers had a relatively silent session, but Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were the only ones to decide against the C4 soft tyres. They used the Hard compound for their first run while they opted for the Medium for the performance run. The Spaniard clocked in a 1m32.108 to go sixth fastest while the Monegasque posted the eleventh fastest time with a 1m32.482.

McLaren failed to repeat their great performance from yesterday with Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo ending up 10th and 16th fastest. Ahead of his first qualifying with the Aston Martin team, Sebastian Vettel finished in 14th place while Fernando Alonso, who is set to make his return to the sport after a two-year absence, ended up 15th fastest.

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