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Bahrain GP: Leclerc tops FP3 as Ferrari sweeps practice

Bahrain GP: Leclerc tops FP3 as Ferrari sweeps practice
Mar 30, 2019, 1:17 PM

Ferrari set a scorching pace in final free practice for Formula 1's Bahrain Grand Prix, with Charles Leclerc leading Sebastian Vettel in a Scuderia one-two, seven tenths clear of Mercedes.

Ferrari did its soft-tyre qualifying simulation runs earlier than its main rivals, and having been gradually shuffled back after initially leading the way, Leclerc and Vettel rose back to the top of the timesheet by setting the only laps of the session below 1m30s.

Leclerc's 1m29.569s effort was the best of the session, leaving him 0.169s clear of Vettel.

Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas both made last-ditch efforts to displace the red cars, but Bottas ran wide at the final corner and ended up fourth, eight tenths down on Leclerc, while Hamilton was only slightly faster, finishing up on a 1m30.334s best, 0.765s down on Leclerc.

Max Verstappen led the way after the initial running, being the first driver in the session to dip below 1m31s, but the Red Bull-Honda finished FP3 only eighth fastest, 1.390s off the pace, after failing to improve on his final run.

Red Bull struggled to switch the soft tyres on for flying laps in FP2 and Verstappen's teammate Pierre Gasly struggled for speed again in FP3, ending up only 12th.

Late improvements from Romain Grosjean's Haas, Nico Hulkenberg's Renault and the McLaren of Lando Norris, who only made one run on soft tyres, vaulted them ahead of Verstappen and into the gap behind Ferrari and Mercedes.

The second McLaren of Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat's Toro Rosso, which briefly topped the times early on, rounded out the top 10, just ahead of Kimi Raikkonen's Alfa Romeo-Ferrari.

Daniel Ricciardo has admitted lacking confidence in his Renault and he again struggled, ending up only 16th fastest, more than seven tenths down on teammate Hulkenberg and behind the Haas of Kevin Magnussen and Racing Point pair Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez.

Williams again brought up the rear of the field, nearly 1.3s behind the 18th placed Alfa of Antonio Giovinazzi, but Robert Kubica improved to finish this session just 0.138s behind teammate George Russell.

Cla Driver Chassis Engine Laps Time Gap
1 Monaco Charles Leclerc  Ferrari Ferrari 15 1'29.569  
2 Germany Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 16 1'29.738 0.169
3 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 10 1'30.334 0.765
4 Finland Valtteri Bottas  Mercedes Mercedes 12 1'30.389 0.820
5 France Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 14 1'30.818 1.249
6 Germany Nico Hulkenberg  Renault Renault 12 1'30.910 1.341
7 United Kingdom Lando Norris  McLaren Renault 15 1'30.955 1.386
8 Netherlands Max Verstappen  Red Bull Honda 10 1'30.959 1.390
9 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.  McLaren Renault 14 1'30.965 1.396
10 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat  Toro Rosso Honda 17 1'31.173 1.604
11 Finland Kimi Raikkonen  Alfa Romeo Ferrari 21 1'31.333 1.764
12 France Pierre Gasly  Red Bull Honda 13 1'31.392 1.823
13 Denmark Kevin Magnussen  Haas Ferrari 13 1'31.540 1.971
14 Canada Lance Stroll  Racing Point Mercedes 16 1'31.618 2.049
15 Mexico Sergio Perez  Racing Point Mercedes 9 1'31.638 2.069
16 Australia Daniel Ricciardo  Renault Renault 11 1'31.643 2.074
17 Thailand Alex Albon  Toro Rosso Honda 17 1'31.679 2.110
18 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi  Alfa Romeo Ferrari 21 1'32.132 2.563
19 United Kingdom George Russell  Williams Mercedes 14 1'33.387 3.818
20 Poland Robert Kubica  Williams Mercedes 13 1'33.525 3.956
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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Bahrain GP
Author Ben Anderson