The third and final day of testing is underway at the Bahrain International Circuit. This is the last bit of track time allocated to the teams ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 28.
What’s happened so far?
When the session started, the weather was much more favourable than the first two days. The sun was out, the air temperature was down at 23C and the wind had dropped.
Charles Leclerc set the early pace in his Ferrari with a 1:30.486 on the C3 compound tyre. The usual caveats around unknown fuel loads apply, but the lap time compared favourably with the best time set by Valtteri Bottas on Saturday with the faster C5 compound, which left the overnight benchmark at 1:30.289.
Sergio Perez focused on C2 tyres early in the session but had a short stoppage when he had to return to the pits with an apparent leak on his Red Bull. He returned to the track on C3s in the third hour of the morning session to improve on Leclerc’s time with a 1:30.309. He then set the fastest time of the test with a 1:30.187 on the C4 compound in the final hour before the lunch break.
Bottas continued to make up for lost time in the Mercedes with a series of eight and nine lap runs on the C2 compound, but did not appear to be focused on single-lap performance.
It was a drama-free opening session, with no red-flag stoppages delaying track time. There were no major issues for any teams either, with all 10 completing a productive number of laps.
The evening session, held under the lights, is expected to feature the most representative times of preseason so far. It will be when teams have the chance to conduct qualifying simulations in conditions more similar to qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix in two weeks time.
Times at lunch
1. Sergio Perez – Red Bull – 1:30.187 – 47 laps
2. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – +0200s – 80 laps
3. Lando Norris – McLaren – +0.474s – 56 laps
4. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri – +0.641s – 74 laps
5. Esteban Ocon – Alpine – +1.123s – 61 laps
6. Mick Schumacher – Haas – +1.866s – 76 laps
7. Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes – +2.219s – 84 laps
8. George Russell – Williams – +2.544s – 77 laps
9. Kimi Raikkonen – Alfa Romeo – + 5.087s – 91 laps
10. Lance Stroll – Aston Martin – +5.913 – 80 laps