Formula 1

Verstappen takes the lead ahead of Leclerc in dynamic final Bahrain practice

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Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Max Verstappen took the fastest lap with a 1:32.544 in an active final practice session leading up to today’s qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Just behind Verstappen we saw Charles Leclerc in second and Sergio Pérez in third, once again showing the potential of both Scuderia Ferrari and Oracle Red Bull Racing to lead the pack. 

George Russell slotted into fourth, about four tenths off leading Verstappen, as Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team appeared to gain some pace during the session. The Constructors’ Champions appeared to still be remedying their issues with porpoising, but seem to be making progress with a particularly smooth mid-session lap from Lewis Hamilton, who ended up in sixth. 

Carlos Sainz filled fifth place on the timing sheet, about five tenths off the lead. His team-mate Leclerc suffered a dramatic spin about halfway through the session on the exit of turn eleven that landed him in the gravel, fortunately avoiding the wall.

Overall, there was much leapfrogging between these leading teams for the top position, as we saw the fastest lap shift between them as the session developed.  It looks like Red Bull and Ferrari will be battling for pole position, but Mercedes will never give up!

Kevin Magnussen found himself seventh as Haas F1 Team found impressive late-session pace. His team-mate, Mick Schumacher, finished P14 but had some impressive sectors of his own.

Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN reached the top ten with Valterri Bottas filling in eighth and Zhou Guanyu ninth. The Swiss team, which struggled to reach Q3 in 2021, appear to have the potential to be in midfield contention in 2022.

Rounding out the top ten was Lance Stroll of Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team, with a 1:33.920. Nico Hulkenberg, subbing in for Sebastian Vettel, went twelfth with a 1:33.971. 

McLaren F1 Team seemed to continue their struggles this weekend, as neither Lando Norris nor Daniel Ricciardo ended a practice session within the top ten. Norris finished the final practice session eleventh with a 1:33.955 and Ricciardo took fifteenth with a 1:34.378.

Scuderia Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly slotted into thirteenth, but his team-mate Yuki Tsunoda was unable to get any running in due to hydraulic failure. 

Filling in the back of the pack is BWT Alpine F1 Team and Williams Racing. Alpine’s Fernando Alonso came in sixteenth and Esteban Ocon finished eighteenth, although neither went all out on the soft tyres. Williams’ Alex Albon split the Alpine’s and finished seventeenth, while Nicholas Latifi found himself last with a 1:35.667.

Practice in Bahrain has been a mixed bag– it is difficult to discern what the order will end up being at the year’s first qualifying. As Sky F1’s Martin Brundle said during the session, “I’m expecting surprises this weekend, there’s no doubt about that.”

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix Free Practice 3 Results:

PosNoDriverNat.TeamTimeGapLaps
11Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing1:32.54415
216Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1:32.640+0.096s16
311Sergio PérezMEXOracle Red Bull Racing1:32.791+0.247s20
463George RussellGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:32.935+0.391s19
555Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari1:33.053+0.509s20
644Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:33.121+0.577s15
720Kevin MagnussenDENHaas F1 Team1:33.437+0.893s15
877Valtteri BottasFINAlfa Romeo Racing1:33.733+1.189s21
924Zhou Guanyu CHNAlfa Romeo Racing1:33.880+1.336s18
1018Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team1:33.920+1.376s14
114Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1:33.955+1.411s18
1227Nico HülkenbergGERAston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team1:33.971+1.427s18
1310Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri1:34.176+1.632s18
1447Mick SchumacherGERHaas F1 Team1:34.295+1.751s17
153Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team1:34.378+1.834s20
1614Fernando AlonsoESPBWT Alpine F1 Team1:34.628+2.084s15
1723Alexander AlbonTHAWilliams Racing1:34.868+2.324s15
1831Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1:34.957+2.413s16
196Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1:35.667+3.123s14
2022Yuki TsunodaJAPScuderia AlphaTauri
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