Bahrain GP: Raikkonen leads Red Bull drivers in FP3

Kimi Raikkonen's strong form ahead of Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying continued as the Ferrari driver set the pace again in Saturday practice.

Bahrain GP: Raikkonen leads Red Bull drivers in FP3
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-18
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB14
Brendon Hartley, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13 and Esteban Ocon, Force India VJM11
Charles Leclerc, Sauber C37
Esteban Ocon, Force India VJM11
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+
Ferrari SF71H sidepods detail
Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C37
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33
Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C37

Raikkonen, who was quickest on Friday, enjoyed an advantage of almost half a second in FP3 as his rivals failed to produce representative laptimes.

Teams were hesitant to hit the track given qualifying and Sunday's race will be held in different conditions, and it took 20 minutes for Carlos Sainz to end the wait for a laptime.

Sainz's 1m33.893s was never going to be a benchmark that stood for long, and Valtteri Bottas's supersoft-shod Mercedes quickly displaced the Renault with a 1m30.781s.

Lewis Hamilton could not better his teammate's time and lapped just under two tenths slower, allowing Red Bull's Max Verstappen to nip between the two Mercedes on soft tyres just after the half-hour mark.

Ferrari came to the fore with 20 minutes of the session remaining.

Sebastian Vettel was first to strike, emerging from the pits after repair work to fix the right-hand side bargeboard's lower fixing, which he had broken on a kerb.

The four-time champion used supersofts to edge just ahead of Bottas on a 1m30.719s, but with yesterday's best times being in the 1m29s there always looked like room for improvement.

Raikkonen did not take long to deliver on that, setting the best time in all three sectors to end up on a 1m29.868s.

His effort was marginally slower than his Friday benchmark but enough to put him well clear as the rest of the order was only settled in the final minutes.

Track temperature fell from 40C to 36C by the end of the session, which is when most of the field posted their best times.

Hamilton looked to have shaded Vettel and Bottas for best-of-the rest honours, despite running very wide exiting the final corner, but Verstappen snatched second in the final five minutes.

Verstappen then almost collided with Raikkonen at Turn 1 when the Finn emerged from the pitlane just after Verstappen had completed his flying lap.

Daniel Ricciardo replicated his teammate's late charge by lapping 0.06s slower moments later, which bumped Hamilton – whose five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change has been confirmed – to fourth.

Vettel and Bottas did not return to the track after setting their respective bests, but the Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Sainz left it late to claim seventh and eighth.

Pierre Gasly continued Toro Rosso-Honda's strong weekend with the ninth-best time, ahead of Fernando Alonso's McLaren.

ClaDriverChassisEngineLapsTimeGap
1 finland Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 15 1'29.868  
2 netherlands Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG 8 1'30.393 0.525
3 australia Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 8 1'30.452 0.584
4 united_kingdom Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 14 1'30.691 0.823
5 germany Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 8 1'30.719 0.851
6 finland Valtteri Bottas  Mercedes Mercedes 16 1'30.781 0.913
7 germany Nico Hulkenberg  Renault Renault 11 1'31.144 1.276
8 spain Carlos Sainz  Renault Renault 12 1'31.200 1.332
9 france Pierre Gasly  Toro Rosso Honda 18 1'31.438 1.570
10 spain Fernando Alonso  McLaren Renault 13 1'31.445 1.577
11 new_zealand Brendon Hartley  Toro Rosso Honda 18 1'31.460 1.592
12 france Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 14 1'31.513 1.645
13 france Esteban Ocon  Force India Mercedes 17 1'31.554 1.686
14 mexico Sergio Perez  Force India Mercedes 14 1'31.564 1.696
15 denmark Kevin Magnussen  Haas Ferrari 14 1'31.737 1.869
16 sweden Marcus Ericsson  Sauber Ferrari 17 1'31.859 1.991
17 belgium Stoffel Vandoorne  McLaren Renault 14 1'31.860 1.992
18 monaco Charles Leclerc  Sauber Ferrari 19 1'32.047 2.179
19 russia Sergey Sirotkin  Williams Mercedes 11 1'32.463 2.595
20 canada Lance Stroll  Williams Mercedes 12 1'32.865 2.997
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