Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen set the fastest time of the three days of running in Sakhir as Formula 1 pre-season testing came to an end at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Verstappen, driving in the afternoon after team-mate Sergio Pérez topped the morning session, completed 53 laps at the wheel of an updated RB18 featuring revised sidepods.
The World Champion didn’t appear for most of the first hours of the later session but when he did he gradually began to work his way to the best time of the three days overall as he cycled through various tyre compounds. He set a 1:32.645 on C3 medium tyres and later moved to the softest C5 rubber to set his best lap of 1:31.720.
That put him almost seven tenths of a second ahead of second placed Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc. The Monegasque driver’s best lap was delivered on the C4 compound. He did try the C5 tyres but despite setting a purple middle sector he flagged late in the lap and was slower.
Third place in the session went to Alpine’s Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard left his best to the end of the session fitting C4 tyres in the final five minutes of the session to set personal bests in each sector to stand as one of just two drivers to get within a second of Verstappen’s time. George Russell was fourth with a time of 1:32.759 that left him 1.039 behind Verstappen and the new Mercedes recruit looked to be battling the mishandling car throughout the lap.
Behind Russell, Valtteri Bottas was fifth for Alfa Romeo. The Finn used C3 Pirelli tyres to set a best time of 1:32.985 but his running early when he stopped outside the Turn 8 due to a gearbox issue.
AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda took fifth place as the Italian squad closed out a solid test phase. The Japanese driver, who completed 57 laps, finished two hundredths of a second behind Bottas, while team-mate Pierre Gasly logged 91 laps on the team’s final day.
After setting the fastest lap of the morning, Sergio Pérez was left with seventh place at the close of running, five hundredths of a second ahead of Haas’s Mick Schumacher, who briefly brought out the red flags in the afternoon after he spun.
Lando Norris ended the day in ninth place for McLaren and after taking over from Lance Stroll at Aston Martin, Sebastian Vettel finished with the day’s 10th quickest time.
Formula 1 2022 Pre-Season Test, Bahrain – Day Three
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull RB18 Red Bull 53 1:31.720
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1-75 Ferrari 51 1:32.415 0.695
3 Fernando Alonso Alpine A522 122 1:32.698 0.978
4 George Russell Mercedes W13 71 1:32.759 1.039
5 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo C42 68 1:32.985 1.265
6 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri AT03 57 1:33.002 1.282
7 Sergio Pérez Red Bull RB18 43 1:33.105 1.385
8 Mick Schumacher Haas VF-22 57 1:33.151 1.431
9 Lando Norris McLaren MCL36 90 1:32.191 1.471
10 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin AMR22 46 1:33.821 2.101
11 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo C42 82 1:33.959 2.239
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri AT03 91 1:34.865 3.145
13 Carlos Sainz Ferrari F1-75 Ferrari 68 1:34.905 3.185
14 Alex Albon Williams FW44 18 1:35.171 3.451
15 Nicholas Latifi Williams FW44 124 1:35.634 3.914
16 Lance Stroll Aston Martin AMR22 53 1:36.029 4.309
17 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W13 78 1:36.217 4.497
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas VF-22 38 1:38.616 6.896