Bahrain GP: Verstappen fastest in tricky final practice

Max Verstappen ended the final practice session for this weekend's Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix quickest, edging Lewis Hamilton by just a over a tenth of a second. 

In the closing minutes of the session, the Red Bull clocked a time of 1:32.194s, which was 0.110s quicker than Hamilton's own last minute effort.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who topped FP1 and FP2 yesterday was third, just 0.004s fastest than Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who in turn just pipped Kimi Raikkonen by 0.031 for fourth. 

Felipe Massa was once again sixth quickest, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo who only completed a single flying lap. Nico Hulkenberg impressed with eighth in his Renault, after being just under two tenths off the pace, before the final runs of the session.

The Toro Rosso pair of Carlos Sainz and Danill Kvyat finished ninth and 10th, having been 1-2 at the mid point of the 60 minute session. 

Lack of early running

As the session was run the mid afternoon, and both Qualifying and the race taking place during twilight conditions, for the first half of the session, there was minimal action out on track, with teams and drivers hoping for slightly cooler conditions toward the end of the session. 

However, the wind direction in Sakhir changed from Friday, meaning that many drivers, including Vettel lost the back end at various points around the circuit, espicially through the Turn 5/6/7 complex. 

With only 11 times on the board at the mid-point, Massa then went quickest, with a 1:32.801s, only to be bettered by Verstappen.

Bottas lost the rear of the Mercedes on Turn 15 exit and run wide, ruining a lap which would've seen him comfortably go P1.

Romain Grosjean was complaining that his Haas had a terrible balance and he could'nt drive it, asking for a switch in front-wing when he pitted in. 

However, exiting Turn 4, he lost control of the car and cannoned into the barrier opposite. Thankfully he was ok, but the red-flag was thrown, so marshals could retrieve the stricken car. After the track had been cleared, Grosjean managed to get the car going again and limped back to the pits. 

Grosjean wanted a new front-wing, and after this shunt, he got exactly that. (Image Credit: @F1 Twitter)
Grosjean wanted a new front-wing, and after this shunt, he got exactly that. (Image Credit: @F1 Twitter)

Final runs 

Raikkonen was first to show his hand, with a 1:32.785 being his best effort of the session, before Bottas and then Vettel came through to pip the Finn to top spot.

Verstappen, fresh from a new floor after he ran over Bottas's T-Wing in FP2 and costing Red Bull £50,000, and Ricciardo went out late on, to complete their efforts, and the Dutchman was 0.615s quicker than his team-mate after their laps, Ricciardo only managing a 1:32.809.

The only driver who could then beat Verstappen was Hamilton, who failed to better the benchmark 0.110s, although he did run wide at the final turn after being up on the Verstappen's setor times through Sector 1 and 2. 

2017 Bahrain Grand Prix - Third Practice Classification
Position Driver Team Time/Gap
1. Max Verstappen Red Bull  1:32.194
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.110
3. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +0.556
4. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +0.560
5. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +0.591
6. Felipe Massa Williams +0.607
7. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull  +0.615
8. Nico Hulkenberg


9. Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso +1.410
10. Danill Kvyat  Toro Rosso 


11. Sergio Perez Force India +1.722
12. Fernando Alonso McLaren +1.728
13. Pascal Wehrlein Sauber +1.753
14. Lance Stroll Williams +1.771
15. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren +1.833
16. Esteban Ocon Force India +1.870
17. Kevin Magnussen Haas +2.004
18. Romain Grosjean Haas +2.011
19. Marcus Ericsson Sauber +2.074
20. Jolyon Palmer Renault +2.223