Bahrain, FP3: Verstappen quickest in final practice in Sakhir
Hamilton 2nd, Bottas 3rd
Max Verstappen set the fastest time of final practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix beating Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton by almost three tenths of a second. Valtteri Bottas was third in the second Mercedes.
After a busy opening phase to the session, Verstappen first rose to the top of the timesheet shortly before the halfway mark in the 60-minute session. The Dutchman lapped in 1:29.617.
Verstappen then went quicker again to shave 0.017s off his best time but during the run he appeared to suffer problems with his rear wing, which was flexing wildly when DRS was engaged. He returned to the pit lane where his crew began work to analyse the problem.
As the session headed into its final quarter the Mercedes drivers returned to the track after unspectacular first runs and this time both Hamilton and Bottas improved. The Finn initially claimed top sport with a lap of 1:28.721, but then Hamilton took P1 a tenth clear of his team-mate.
It looked like those times migfht be good enough to see Mercedes earn a one-two finish but Verstappen returned to the track and despite similar, though less violent rear win flex, the Dutchman set purple times in the opening two sectors and a personal best in the final third of the lap to secure top spot with a time of 1:28.355 – 0.263s better than Hamilton’s earlier benchmark.
With the Mercedes drivers dropped to second and third, fourth place in the session went to Alex Albon in the second Red Bull. The Thai driver was running a new chassis after his heavy crash in practice on Friday.
Carlos Sainz finished fifth for McLaren, with Pierre Gasly sixth for AlphaTauri and Lando Norris seventh in the second McLaren. Daniil Kvyat was eighth in the second AlphaTauri, ahead of Racing Point pair Lance Stroll and Perez.
|01||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Honda RB16||1:28.355||11|
|02||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W11||1:28.618||12|
|03||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes W11||1:28.721||14|
|04||Alex Albon||Red Bull Honda RB16||1:29.018||12|
|05||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault MCL35||1:29.455||12|
|06||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri Honda AT01||1:29.472||12|
|07||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault MCL35||1:29.567||8|
|08||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri Honda AT01||1:29.585||17|
|09||Lance Stroll||Racing Point Mercedes RP20||1:29.660||13|
|10||Sergio Perez||Racing Point Mercedes RP20||1:29.672||12|
|11||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault RS20||1:29.684||9|
|12||Esteban Ocon||Renault RS20||1:29.691||11|
|13||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari SF1000||1:29.859||15|
|14||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39||1:29.970||10|
|15||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari SF1000||1:30.183||14|
|16||George Russell||Williams Mercedes FW43||1:30.559||16|
|17||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari VF-20||1:30.652||16|
|18||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari VF-20||1:30.759||12|
|19||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39||1:30.823||16|
|20||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes FW43||1:30.917||16|