Red Bull Racing‘s Max Verstappen ended the third practice session in Bahrain on top by half a second to Lewis Hamilton preventing Sebastian Vettel‘s cleansweep of claiming the top spot.
The session was off to a quiet start with Carlos Sainz, Romain Grosjean and Vettel the first three drivers to head out on track, before being joined by Stoffel Vandoorne. Sainz, Vettel and Vandoorne returned to the pits immediately after completing their installation lap.
Force India‘s Esteban Ocon was the first driver to complete a flying lap, with a 1m34.415s on soft tyres.
Ocon’s team-mate Sergio Perez soon joined him on the timing sheets, lapping 0.4s slower than the former.
Sainz soon bettered the time of Ocon by raising the benchmark by two tenths to 1m34.219s on the super-softs.
At the halfway point of the session only Kimi Raikkonen was yet to head out for an installation lap.
It was a difficult session for Grosjean who was complaining over the radio about understeer.
Matters only got worse for the Frenchman as he spun exiting turn 4, hitting the barrier with the front of his Haas getting the frontwing jammed underneath.
The session was momentarily red flagged, just as Raikkonen had headed out to complete an installation lap.
With the session back under way the quartet of Mercedes AMG Petronas and Scuderia Ferrari drivers headed straight out to resume their programmes.
Vettel looked to be on a quick lap but it was compromised as a gust of wind forced him wide as he exited turn 7 but still went third despite the error.
The top spot soon turned into a battle of the Finns as Valtteri Bottas and Raikkonen fought it out for the quickest time, with the younger of the pair coming out on top.
This did not last for long though as Vettel got back into the rhythm and claimed the top spot by 0.004s over Bottas.
Verstappen took over the top spot from Vettel by going half a second quicker than the German.
Hamilton, who had spent much of the session off the pace moved up to second – a tenth behind the Dutchman.
2017 Bahrain Grand Prix – FP3 Results
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