Kimi Räikkönen set the pace for the second time this weekend at the Bahrain International Circuit, but there will be worries in the other half of the Scuderia Ferrari garage after Sebastian Vettel’s session was curtailed by an apparent engine problem.
Raikkonen was more than half a second clear of the field in the final practice session ahead of Qualifying, with Max Verstappen the Finn’s closest challenge for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, 0.525 seconds back.
There was a close moment between the top two late in the session when Räikkönen, exiting the pit lane ahead of another run, almost collided with the Dutchman as he slowed after completing a run of his own, with Verstappen cutting across the nose of the Finn’s Ferrari at turn one.
Daniel Ricciardo put his Red Bull into third position, just 0.059 seconds behind his team-mate, but it was a poor session for Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team, the reigning World Champion ending 0.823 seconds off the pace in fourth, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas sixth, 0.913 seconds behind Räikkönen.
In between the two Mercedes was Vettel, but he did not get the opportunity to set a representative Qualifying simulation as his team-mate did, firstly due to a bargeboard that partly detached itself from the car, and then with the engine issue that saw him pull into the pits for his mechanics to get to work.
The Renault Sport Formula One Team were the best of the rest in seventh and eighth, Nico Hulkenberg ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr., while Pierre Gasly continued his strong weekend for Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda by finishing ninth, ahead of the McLaren F1 Team’s Fernando Alonso.
Brendon Hartley had a much better Saturday session than he did in either of the Friday ones, with the second Toro Rosso ending eleventh fastest, just 0.022 seconds behind his team-mate, with Romain Grosjean twelfth in the leading Haas F1 Team machine ahead of Sahara Force India F1 Team duo Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez.
Kevin Magnussen put the second Haas fifteenth ahead of Marcus Ericsson in the leading of the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team machines, with team-mate Charles Leclerc eighteenth just behind the second McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne.
Bringing up the rear were the two Williams Martini Racing drivers, with Sergey Sirotkin ahead of Lance Stroll, although the duo were 2.595 and 2.997 seconds off the pace of Räikkönen respectively.
Bahrain International Circuit Free Practice 3 Result
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