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Formula 1 Testing in Bahrain - Day One BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 21: Carlos Sainz Jr of Spain driving the (55) Ferrari SF-24 during Day One of F1 Testing at Bahrain International Circuit on February 21, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. Bahrain Grand Prix

Bahrain Grand Prix: F1 Free Practice 3 Results

Going into today, the pace of each car still cannot be predicted, making it unknown who will be the fastest in this session before the much anticipated qualifying session later on

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Carlos Sainz tops the final practice session ahead of fellow Spaniard Fernando Alonso ahead of qualifying later on for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, F1, Bahrain Grand Prix
Hamilton was the first driver to head out of the pitlane after six minutes (Image Credit: @F1 on X)

The first two practice sessions of the year had two different drivers topping the session with RB driver Daniel Ricciardo in FP1 and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in FP2. Reigning world champion Max Verstappen found himself down in sixth in both sessions – not being happy with the RB20’s handling.

Before the session even started, McLaren mechanics were doing vigorous work on the floor of Lando Norris’ MCL38.

Greenlight

Five minutes had passed and no driver had ventured out of the pitlane. However, a minute later, Hamilton was the first driver to head out of the pitlane in the final practice session. The seven-time world champion set the first lap time of the session, setting a 1:32.733 on the soft compound tyre.

At the 12-minute mark, Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz, along with teammate Charles Leclerc, ventured out of the pitlane. Sainz just missed out on Hamilton’s time at the top, setting a 1:32.762 – 0.029 seconds off the Mercedes driver. The Spaniard did set purple sectors in sector two and three.

However, Sainz’s teammate Leclerc pipped Hamilton’s time by 0.056 seconds, setting a 1:32.677 on the soft compound tyre. The Monegasque went fastest in sectors two and three.

At the 20-minute mark, Haas driver Kevin Magnussen beat Leclerc’s time by 0.237 seconds, setting a 1:32.440 on the soft compound tyre. However, the Dane’s time at the top was short-lived with Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll rising to the top with a 1:32.327.

Mercedes driver George Russell smashed the Canadian’s time, going into the 1:31’s. The Briton went fastest in sectors two and three, setting a 1:31.821, going over two tenths quicker than the two Ferrari drivers.

Five minutes later, Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso rised to the top of the timesheets, setting a 1:31.582, going quickest in sectors one and two.

Red Bull on a different programme?

Whilst all the other drivers set their lap times on the soft compound, Verstappen and his teammate Sergio Perez both opted to go out on the hard compound tyre. The Dutchman’s time was 1.6 seconds off Alonso’s quickest time on the soft tyre at the 25-minute mark. Perez was a further tenth-and-a-half back from his Dutch teammate.

The Mexican complained on the radio to his team with the upshifting of his RB20. The 34-year-old described the problem as “really bad”.

With under a third of the session to go, the Red bull drivers eventually went out on the soft compound tyre. Perez rised to the top, setting a 1:31.248 with 15 minutes of the session to go. However, his teammate Verstappen went quicker than the Mexican, setting a 1:31.062, going purple in the first two sectors.

Red Bull in trouble?

Alonso managed to break into the 1:30’s, setting a 1:30.965, going just under a tenth quicker than Verstappen. Norris jumped up to third, setting a blistering quick second sector, showing there is more potential lap time, as Piastri slotted just behind the Briton in fourth.

After the lap, Alonso was informed that he was just under a tenth quicker than Verstappen. The Spaniard responded that he is “connected well” with the AMR24.

However, fellow Spaniard Sainz beat Alonso’s time by over a tenth, setting a 1:30.824. The Ferrari driver ended the session top, ahead of his compatriot Alonso.

Results
  1. Carlos Sainz
  2. Fernando Alonso
  3. Max Verstappen
  4. Charles Leclerc
  5. Lando Norris
  6. George Russell
  7. Oscar Piastri
  8. Sergio Perez
  9. Nico Hulkenberg
  10. Lance Stroll
  11. Daniel Ricciardo
  12. Lewis Hamilton
  13. Yuki Tsunoda
  14. Kevin Magnussen
  15. Alex Albon
  16. Zhou Guanyu
  17. Valtteri Bottas
  18. Esteban Ocon
  19. Logan Sargeant
  20. Pierre Gasly

Feature Image Credit: Qian Jun/MB Media/Getty Images

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