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F1 Bahrain GP: Sainz beats Alonso, Verstappen to top FP3

Carlos Sainz completed the final Bahrain Grand Prix practice session of the weekend with the fastest time, shading Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen in Formula 1's FP3 timesheets.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

A flurry of final hot-laps interspersed among the final 10 minutes created a changing order after the Red Bulls moved to the top for a short spell, Max Verstappen capturing a 1m31.062s over team-mate Sergio Perez.

Alonso, who had been on top previously, reclaimed his advantage at the head of the field having become the first driver of the session to get below the 1m31s mark.

However, his countryman Sainz managed to pull 0.141s out of Alonso's time, finishing the session atop the order for an all-Spanish 1-2.

Unrepresentative track conditions compared to those expected in qualifying and Saturday's race ensured that FP3 would be of limited value, although it nonetheless offered track time to those looking to tie up any loose ends before the high-value sessions.

Track temperatures of 34 degrees C at the start of the session proved relatively undesirable, thus producing a six-minute wait before any track action took place; Lewis Hamilton broke the deadlock to gather some mileage for Mercedes.

The seven-time champion had the track to himself in the early phases and thus it was inevitable that he would move to the top; a 1m32.733s served as the initial benchmark on a set of soft tyres. Another hiatus followed when Hamilton pitted, although this was somewhat shorter as Ferrari duo Sainz and Charles Leclerc took to the road as the track temperatures began to fall.

Once the opening quarter of an hour came to an end, there were a few more takers willing to occupy the track; Leclerc posted a 1m32.677s to overturn Hamilton's early hegemony over the times, while Sainz fell a tenth short of his team-mate.

With more track action, the times began to fall; Kevin Magnussen rose to the top by two tenths, before he was overturned by Lance Stroll in the Canadian's initial run.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-24

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-24

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

George Russell then burst onto the scene and posted a 1m31.821s to go fastest, half a tenth faster than Stroll's earlier headliner. Leclerc got close with his next attempt but could not beat Russell despite setting the best final sector, but Fernando Alonso subsequently moved to the top with a 1m31.582s.

Amid the soft-tyre runs, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez put together some quicker laps on the hard tyre, and thus did not factor among the early squabbling over faster laps. Both Red Bull drivers aired grievances over their first laps, with Perez reporting a "bad" feeling with his downshifts while Verstappen suggested that the hard tyre felt "terrible" after his first laps on the C1s.

The two switched to soft tyres in the final 20 minutes of the session and immediately began to chase after a headline time; Perez posted a 1m31.248s to chisel Alonso from the top of the times, but was outdone by Verstappen's subsequent lap by two tenths.

Their efforts prompted a flurry of further action on the softs; the Aston Martins began another round of hot laps and although Stroll fell just short of Perez's second-fastest effort, Alonso fired his way back to the top with a 1m30.965s - stating that he was "connected with the car" after progress with set-up.

The McLarens took another go and Lando Norris set the best middle sector, but lost about six tenths in the final part of the lap which denied him a chance to make his way to the top of the order.

Sainz and Leclerc queued up for Ferrari's final fast laps of the session and, although Sainz had been able to put his car on top, Leclerc was about a quarter of a second shy of his team-mate and could only managed fourth, behind Alonso and Verstappen.

Norris' effort was good enough for fifth ahead of Russell, while Oscar Piastri relegated Perez down a further position as the Australian got the seventh-fastest time. Nico Hulkenberg and Stroll completed the top half of the field.

Just 1.558s separated the top and bottom drivers, as Alpine's Pierre Gasly endured further struggles with the slowest time of the session.

F1 Bahrain GP FP3 results

Cla Driver # Chassis Engine Laps Time Interval km/h
1 Spain C. Sainz Ferrari 55 Ferrari Ferrari 18


2 Spain F. Alonso Aston Martin Racing 14 Aston Martin Mercedes 18



0.141 214.183
3 Netherlands M. Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1 Red Bull Red Bull 16



0.097 213.955
4 Monaco C. Leclerc Ferrari 16 Ferrari Ferrari 17



0.032 213.880
5 United Kingdom L. Norris McLaren 4 McLaren Mercedes 12



0.024 213.823
6 United Kingdom G. Russell Mercedes 63 Mercedes Mercedes 12



0.072 213.655
7 Australia O. Piastri McLaren 81 McLaren Mercedes 13



0.020 213.608
8 Mexico S. Perez Red Bull Racing 11 Red Bull Red Bull 17



0.038 213.519
9 Germany N. Hulkenberg Haas F1 Team 27 Haas Ferrari 13



0.030 213.449
10 Canada L. Stroll Aston Martin Racing 18 Aston Martin Mercedes 17



0.118 213.173
11 Australia D. Ricciardo RB 3 RB Red Bull 13



0.053 213.049
12 United Kingdom L. Hamilton Mercedes 44 Mercedes Mercedes 20



0.003 213.042
13 Japan Y. Tsunoda RB 22 RB Red Bull 14



0.179 212.626
14 Denmark K. Magnussen Haas F1 Team 20 Haas Ferrari 20



0.040 212.533
15 Thailand A. Albon Williams 23 Williams Mercedes 17



0.294 211.854
16 China Z. Guanyu Sauber 24 Sauber Ferrari 17



0.035 211.773
17 Finland V. Bottas Sauber 77 Sauber Ferrari 16



0.096 211.553
18 France E. Ocon Alpine 31 Alpine Renault 11



0.028 211.488
19 United States L. Sargeant Williams 2 Williams Mercedes 16



0.001 211.486
20 France P. Gasly Alpine 10 Alpine Renault 14



0.257 210.898

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