Bahrain GP F1 practice: Kimi Raikkonen fastest ahead of Red Bulls in FP3

Kimi Raikkonen's strong form ahead of Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying continued as the Ferrari driver set the pace again in Saturday practice

Bahrain GP F1 practice: Kimi Raikkonen fastest ahead of Red Bulls in FP3

Raikkonen, who was quickest on Friday, enjoyed an advantage of half a second in FP3 as some of his rivals failed to produce representative lap times.

Teams were hesitant to hit the track given qualifying and Sunday's race will be held in different conditions, and it took 20 minutes for Carlos Sainz Jr to end the wait for a lap time.

Sainz's 1m33.893s was never going to be a benchmark that stood for long, and Valtteri Bottas's supersoft-shod Mercedes quickly displaced the Renault with a 1m30.781s.

Lewis Hamilton could not better his team-mate's time and lapped just under two-tenths slower, allowing Red Bull's Max Verstappen to nip between the two Mercedes on soft tyres just after the half-hour mark.

Ferrari came to the fore with 20 minutes of the session remaining.

Sebastian Vettel was first to strike, emerging from the pits after repair work to fix the right-hand side bargeboard's lower fixing, which he had broken on a kerb.

The four-time champion used supersofts to edge just ahead of Bottas on a 1m30.719s, but with yesterday's best times being in the 1m29s there always looked like room for improvement.

Raikkonen did not take long to prove that, setting the best time in all three sectors to end up on a 1m29.868s.

His effort was marginally slower than his Friday benchmark but enough to put him well clear as the rest of the order was only settled in the final minutes.

Track temperature fell from 40C to 36C by the end of the session, which is when most of the field posted their best times.

Hamilton looked to have shaded Vettel and Bottas for best-of-the rest honours, despite running very wide exiting the final corner, but Verstappen snatched second in the final five minutes.

Verstappen then almost collided with Raikkonen at Turn 1 when the Finn emerged from the pitlane just after Verstappen had completed his flying lap.

Daniel Ricciardo replicated his team-mate's late charge by lapping 0.06s slower moments later, which bumped Hamilton - whose five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change has been confirmed - to fourth.

Vettel and Bottas did not return to the track after setting their respective bests, but the Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Sainz left it late to claim seventh and eighth.

Pierre Gasly continued Toro Rosso-Honda's strong weekend with the ninth-best time, ahead of Fernando Alonso's McLaren.

FP3 times

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m29.868s - 15
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m30.393s 0.525s 8
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m30.452s 0.584s 8
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m30.691s 0.823s 14
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m30.719s 0.851s 8
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m30.781s 0.913s 16
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m31.144s 1.276s 11
8 Carlos Sainz Jr. Renault 1m31.200s 1.332s 12
9 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m31.438s 1.570s 18
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1m31.445s 1.577s 13
11 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1m31.460s 1.592s 18
12 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m31.513s 1.645s 14
13 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m31.554s 1.686s 17
14 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m31.564s 1.696s 14
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m31.737s 1.869s 14
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m31.859s 1.991s 17
17 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1m31.860s 1.992s 14
18 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1m32.047s 2.179s 19
19 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1m32.463s 2.595s 11
20 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m32.865s 2.997s 12


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Series Formula 1
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen
Teams Red Bull Racing
Author Scott Mitchell
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