Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen set the quickest time of final practice in Bahrain, finishing a tenth of a second ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was third.
Verstappen’s running in yesterday’s second practice session was compromised when a T-wing broke off Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes and damaged the floor of the Red Bull man’s car, but he recovered this morning to confirm the Milton Keynes competitiveness here with a best time of 1:32.1934, 0.110 up on Hamilton.
Verstappen’s qualifying simulation wasn’t without its issues, however, as midway through his out lap he reported a problem with third gear. The issue righted itself before he crossed the line to start his flying lap, however.
Hamilton’s P2 lap was his first significant move of the session. Like many of the expected frontrunners the Briton’s only early contributions were exploratory laps and as the session entered its final phase Hamilton was down in P9, 1.3s off the pace. His qualifying lap of 1:32.304 was good enough to vault him to second place in the order.
Third place in the session went to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, with the German finishing just four thousandths of a second ahead of Bottas in the second Mercedes. Kimi Räikkönen was fifth for Ferrari ahead of Williams’ Felipe Massa.
Yesterday, Daniel Ricciardo in the second Red Bull was second quickest in the Fp2 qualifying runs, but today the Australian ended final practice in seventh position. The After his installation laps Ricciardo retreated to the Red Bull garage and did not emerge again for the first half of the session. When he did to track once more, his run on soft tyres was interrupted by a red flag as Haas’ Romain Grosjean crashed out at Turn 5.
The Frenchman lost control on the exit of the corner and spun sideways into the tyre barriers, breaking his front wing. He was able to limp back to the pits and the session was quickly underway again. Ricciardo, though, stayed in the pit lane and only set his first timed lap with two minutes left in the session after which he rose to seventh.
Behind him Nico Hulkenberg was eighth for Renault ahead of the twin Toro Rossos of Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat.
2017 Bahrain Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:32.194s – 8
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:32.304s 0.110s 10
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:32.750s 0.556s 10
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:32.754s 0.560s 13
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:32.785s 0.591s 9
6 Felipe Massa Williams 1:32.801s 0.607s 12
7 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:32.809s 0.615s 8
8 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:32.933s 0.739s 9
9 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:33.604s 1.410s 18
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:33.744s 1.550s 11
11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:33.916s 1.722s 14
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:33.922s 1.728s 10
13 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 1:33.947s 1.753s 15
14 Lance Stroll Williams 1:33.965s 1.771s 15
15 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:34.027s 1.833s 15
16 Esteban Ocon Force India 1:34.064s 1.870s 17
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:34.198s 2.004s 13
18 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:34.205s 2.011s 14
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:34.268s 2.074s 15
20 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:34.417s 2.223s 11