Räikkönen Comfortably Clear of the Pack in Final Bahrain Practice

Kimi Räikkönen was fastest in final practice
Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

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

17Kimi RaikkonenFINScuderia Ferrari1:29.868
233Max VerstappenNEDAston Martin Red Bull Racing1:30.393
33Daniel RicciardoAUSAston Martin Red Bull Racing1:30.452
444Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport1:30.691
55Sebastian VettelGERScuderia Ferrari1:30.719
677Valtteri BottasFINMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport1:30.781
727Nico HulkenbergGERRenault Sport Formula One Team1:31.144
855Carlos Sainz Jr.ESPRenault Sport Formula One Team1:31.200
910Pierre GaslyFRARed Bull Toro Rosso Honda1:31.438
1014Fernando AlonsoESPMcLaren F1 Team1:31.445
1128Brendon HartleyNZLRed Bull Toro Rosso Honda1:31.460
128Romain GrosjeanFRAHaas F1 Team1:31.513
1331Esteban OconFRASahara Force India F1 Team1:31.554
1411Sergio PerezMEXSahara Force India F1 Team1:31.564
1520Kevin MagnussenDENHaas F1 Team1:31.737
169Marcus EricssonSWEAlfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team1:31.859
172Stoffel VandoorneBELMcLaren F1 Team1:31.860
1816Charles LeclercMONAlfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team1:32.047
1935Sergey SirotkinRUSWilliams Martini Racing1:32.463
2018Lance StrollCANWilliams Martini Racing1:32.865