Sakhir Grand Prix – Max Verstappen has given Mercedes a wake-up call by beating Valtteri Bottas to top spot in final practice at the Sakhir Circuit in Bahrain.
Max Verstappen has gone fastest in the third and final practice session at the Sakhir Circuit in Bahrain. The Dutch driver put in a 54.064 second laptime to top the times, pipping Mercedes close to the end of the hour on the final qualifying runs.
Mercedes had looked quite comfortable throughout the session, with Valtteri Bottas enjoying an increasing advantage over George Russell as the session progressed. While Bottas was able to ramp up his pace to lower his benchmark time to a 54.270 second laptime, Russell wasn’t able to go with him and had to settle for P7 and 0.6 away from Verstappen’s best laptime. He was 0.4 slower than Bottas, having topped the times in both practice session on Friday.
Pierre Gasly finished P3 with a great final run for Alpha Tauri, vaulting up the order to finish just behind Verstappen and Bottas just a tenth behind the Finn. Esteban Ocon was P4 for Renault, indicating the potential of the French team this weekend, with Lando Norris finishing P5 for McLaren.
Alex Albon was P6 for Red Bull Racing, just ahead of Russell’s Merc, with Sergio Perez slotting into P8 for Racing Point. Lance Stroll was P9, with Carlos Sainz rounding out the top ten placing P10 for McLaren.
Antonio Giovinazzi was the highest placed Ferrari powered car with P11 for Alfa Romeo, while Daniil Kvyat finished P12 for Alpha Tauri. Charles Leclerc was P13 for Ferrari, and had a late spin in the session. He lost control of his SF1000 coming through the final corner as the chequered flag waved, meaning any last lap attempts from other drivers were ruined.
Daniel Ricciardo was P14 for Renault, with Sebastian Vettel in P15 for Ferrari. Kimi Raikkonen was P16 for Alfa Romeo, with Kevin Magnussen in P17 for Haas.
Nicholas Latifi finished P18 for Williams, Pietro Fittipaldi P19 for Haas, and Jack Aitken P20 for Williams as the two rookies, unsurprisingly, finished at the bottom of the times.