LIVE: F1 Bahrain 2021 pre-season testing - Day 3

Live text commentary on the third day of 2021 Formula 1 pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit.

LIVE: F1 Bahrain 2021 pre-season testing - Day 3

By: Jake Boxall-Legge, Stefan Mackley, Haydn Cobb, Tom Howard


  • Verstappen and Red Bull finish pre-season testing on top, the Dutchman setting a 1m28.960s on the final day
  • Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) takes second with Sainz (Ferrari) completing the top three
  • Perez fastest for Red Bull in the morning session with a 1m30.187s ahead of Leclerc (Ferrari) and Norris (McLaren)
  • The motorsport world mourns the loss of legendary commentator Murray Walker
  • F1 action will resume in two weeks for the Bahrain Grand Prix (28 March)

Leaderboard - Day 3

1. Verstappen, Red Bull, 1m28.960s
2. Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, 1m29.053s
3. Sainz, Ferrari, 1m29.611s 
4. Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, 1m29.766s
5. Hamilton, Mercedes, 1m30.025s
6. Russell, Williams, 1m30.117s
7. Ricciardo, McLaren, 1m30.144s
8. Perez, Red Bull, 1m30.187s
9. Alonso, Alpine, 1m30.318s
10. Leclerc, Ferrari, 1m30.486s
11. Norris, McLaren, 1m30.661s
12. Gasly, AlphaTauri, 1m30.828s
13. Ocon, Alpine, 1m31.310s
14. Mazepin, Haas, 1m31.531s
15. Schumacher, Haas, 1m32.053s
16. Bottas, Mercedes, 1m32.406s
17. Vettel, Aston Martin, 1m35.041s 
18. Stroll, Aston Martin, 1m36.100s

Status: Stopped
That's it from us! Thanks for joining us over the past three days, we hope you enjoyed it! We'll see you for the Bahrain GP in two weeks' time - take it easy!
Is this an on-track dust-up? Raikkonen and Sainz came together at Turn 10 there, as Sainz was on a lap, and it seems that the Spanish driver was most displeased. His disappointment was immeasurable, and his day was ruined.
And that's it for pre-season testing! Verstappen top, Tsunoda 0.093s behind him, with Sainz third. Now...breathe.
Five minutes remain.
Hamilton has a tilt at a lap, but it's not phenomenal. But that's very Mercedes-like to keep a lid on the squid.
I think this might be it for quick runs, as everyone's coming in and out of the pits on each lap. But I'm willing to be proven wrong...
Red Bull's bringing Verstappen in to practice some pitstops, and the other teams seem to be following suit.
Verstappen's having another go, but finds the #9 Haas in his path at Turn 1 and immediately loses time.
So, we've just over quarter of an hour left. Any last flyers?
Sainz goes up to P3, with a 1m29.611s.
It's ol' Spinny Hamilton again, dabbing the accelerator just a little too roughly at the final corner and doing a 360 turn. He's back up and running, but was arguably going too slowly...
We won't see any more from Aston Martin today - Vettel's suffered a loss of turbo boost pressure. So, test over for the green team.
The big difference between Verstappen and Tsunoda is the second sector - the Red Bull driver has quarter of a second over the AlphaTauri.
Tsunoda does get closer to him, though, putting in a 1m29.053s on the C5.
It's a 1m28.960s for the Dutchman - displacing Tsunoda from the top of the timing boards. First man into the 1m28s, too - on the C4 tyres.
Verstappen might be about to end Tsunoda's reign here...
It's a 1m30.697s for Sainz, going P11.
Russell does a 1m30.399s to go P8, as Sainz also begins another go on C3 tyres.
Hamilton also posts another C5 time, posting a 1m30.025 to rise up to P4. Three-quarters of a second off Tsunoda.
That was such a tidy final corner from Tsunoda, inch perfect on that final kerb.
Guess who goes even quicker? Tsunoda posts a 1m29.282s to find an extra 0.4s on his best...
Ricciardo and Alonso are out on the road at the moment, as Tsunoda has been in and out of the pits.
But Tsunoda wants top spot back - and he takes it with a 1m29.671s! To quote football commentator Ray Hudson, "he's like Oliver Twist this boy, always wanting more - but he doesn't ask, he just takes it!"
Verstappen scorches to a 1m29.733s to return to the top, despite going off-line in sector 2! Big final sector for the Dutchman on the C3s - he can go faster, surely.
Russell sets a 1m30.600s, up to ninth place in that Williams.
Hamilton's done a 1m30.391s, his best lap so far. Still running relatively low power modes at the moment...just doing his thing.
With the array of probes, you can build a pressure map, so you can determine where the vortices are, where the flow is headed, and correlate that with the pressure slices you get in CFD when you go through post-processing.
"Why do the teams run aero rigs and then flow-vis later on? Can't you get the same answer just by using the one and not the other?" - not necessarily, because flow-vis gives you the flow patterns on the surface - but not how the airflow works around the car...
I'll field a couple of questions that we didn't answer earlier on the main Autosport account; "why does the Haas look unstable in cornering"? It's mainly because this is, effectively, a 2020 car with a 2021 floor. I guess they all are, but Haas has done very little development elsewhere, so it's basically just shed a bunch of downforce...
Tsunoda had P1 for about two seconds, before Raikkonen went 0.011s faster.
There is, as Raikkonen fires in a 1m29.766s to now go top!
Tsunoda quickest, with a 1m29.777s! There might, however, be a "but"...
The true battle, of course, is between Raikkonen and Russell. Russell on 140 laps, but Raikkonen's coming around to complete his 141st. It's purple so far, too...

Into the final hour and it is our last changeover. Back from his Twitter Q&A, JBL will oversee the end of F1 pre-season testing.

Hamilton, on a second push lap after a cooldown, puts in a 1m30.643s to continue to chip away and move up to P8. Still some 0.8s off Verstappen's earlier effort.

Sainz is back in the Ferrari garage after his car appeared to be stuck in fourth gear when he trundled around before he pitted. The Ferrari mechanics are currently investigating.

Tsunoda goes for another push lap after a cooldown but is half a second slower this time as it appears his soft tyres cry enough.

Moments later, Hamilton, also on a new set of C4s, climbs up to P10 with a 1m30.928s. Time to find for the Mercedes driver.