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Formula 1 Bahrain February Testing

2023 F1 Bahrain test: Perez and Red Bull end pre-season on top

Sergio Perez and Red Bull end Formula 1 pre-season testing on top as the Mexican beat Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton to the fastest time on the final day in Bahrain.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19

Under a searing sun the opening phase of the final opportunity to test ahead of next week's Bahrain Grand Prix was dominated by longer runs, with Perez moving up the order courtesy of a 1m31.714s on Pirelli's mid-range C3 tyres.

Mercedes' Hamilton joined the fray with a 1m31.960s on the same compound during what seemed like a more positive afternoon for Mercedes than Friday.

As the sun set, the track became more representative for next week's qualifying and race.

The cooler afternoon conditions therefore prompted more performance runs on Pirelli's softer compounds, with several drivers going quicker than the previous benchmark.

After Carlos Sainz got close to team-mate Leclerc's morning benchmark, Hamilton went top on the softest C5 compound with a 1m30.781s, easily Mercedes' fastest time so far.

That time proved no match for Perez' 1m30.616s on the slower C4 tyres, with Hamilton then improving but still 0.048s behind the Mexican on his next attempt.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

In the final hour, with the track continuously getting quicker, Perez put more distance between himself and the seven-time world champion, a 1m30.305s on C4s increasing his lead to 0.359s.

Valtteri Bottas impressed by going third with a 1m30.827s, staying just half a second off Perez in his Alfa Romeo as he jumped both Ferrari drivers.

Behind Leclerc and Sainz, AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda was sixth with his C4 time, narrowly ahead of fellow afternoon runner Kevin Magnussen in the Haas and George Russell's morning time in the Mercedes.

Fernando Alonso took over from Aston Martin's reserve driver Felipe Drugovich as the tandem completed the top 10 on what has been an impressive long run showing by the Silverstone squad.

it proved another low-key day for McLaren as Lando Norris completed just 35 laps to stay 11th, although the Briton set his fastest time on the slower C3 tyres.

Pierre Gasly was 13th in what looked like a tricky new Alpine machine, ahead of Williams marathon man Alex Albon who along with Perez covered the entire Saturday as both drivers hit 130 laps or more.

Morning runners Esteban Ocon, Nico Hulkenberg, Oscar Piastri and Nyck de Vries propped up the timesheets with times in hot conditions that cannot be compared to the faster evening running.

As was the case in every session, a late virtual safety car and red flag for systems checks and a practice start brought an otherwise uneventful session to a close.

With the only three-day winter test completed, teams will now get five days to prepare for Friday's first on-track running of the 2023 curtain raiser at the same Bahrain International Circuit.

2023 F1 Bahrain test: Day 3 results

Cla Driver Chassis Engine Laps Time Gap
1 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull Red Bull 133 1'30.305  
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 65 1'30.664 0.359
3 Finland Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari 131 1'30.827 0.522
4 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari Ferrari 67 1'31.024 0.719
5 Spain Carlos Sainz Ferrari Ferrari 76 1'31.036 0.731
6 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Red Bull 79 1'31.261 0.956
7 Denmark Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 95 1'31.381 1.076
8 United Kingdom George Russell Mercedes Mercedes 83 1'31.442 1.137
9 Spain Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Mercedes 80 1'31.450 1.145
10 Brazil Felipe Drugovich Aston Martin Mercedes 77 1'32.075 1.770
11 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes 37 1'32.160 1.855
12 France Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault 56 1'32.762 2.457
13 Thailand Alex Albon Williams Mercedes 136 1'32.793 2.488
14 France Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault 76 1'33.257 2.952
15 Germany Nico Hulkenberg Haas Ferrari 77 1'33.329 3.024
16 Australia Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes 44 1'33.655 3.350
17 Netherlands Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri Red Bull 87 1'38.244 7.939

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