Bahrain GP: Verstappen makes it a practice clean sweep

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen topped FP3 today to make it three out of three ahead of qualifying later today for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

After topping FP1 and FP2 yesterday, that makes Red Bull the favourite going into qualifying under the lights this evening.

Verstappen was over seven tenths clear of Lewis Hamilton in second place in his best position all weekend in the better but still difficult Mercedes.

Hamilton seemed to be more comfortable with the car than his teammate Valtteri Bottas who was consistently missing apexes and struggling throughout the lap. Bottas ended the session fourth behind Pierre Gasly in the strong AlphaTauri.

AlphaTauri have been a dark horse coming out of testing with some very solid running for both Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda. Whether that pace can be carried over will be seen later on.

Fifth was the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez who has been struggling to naturally drive the Red Bull. He is ahead of the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz who set his fastest lap on the medium tyres.

Kimi Raikkonen set an impressive lap to be seventh with Esteban Ocon in eighth ahead of Lance Stroll and Daniel Ricciardo who round out the top 10.

There is such a difference in practice results in this unrepresentative daytime session so there are only more questions going into the first fully competitive session of 2021 under the lights this evening.

Charles Leclerc 11th and had a spin early in the session in the Ferrari with Antonio Giovinazzi only just behind him in a handy Alfa Romeo.

Tsunoda was 13th and Sebastian Vettel, 14th. Vettel had a tricky session with a chunk of the car flying off and hitting him in the face mid way through. Where Aston Martin lie is still up for debate.

As is the debate on Alpine with two time champion Fernando Alonso in 15th with star of Friday Lando Norris in 16th.

George Russell was the lead Williams in 17th with Nicholas Latifi in twentieth.

They were split by the Haas cars of Mick Schumacher in 18th and Nikita Mazepin in 19th.

Chances are qualifying is an entirely different story.