14. March 2021

  • Lawrence Edmondson

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F1 Publisher

– At ESPN since 2009

– F1 journalist accredited by the FIA since 2011

  • Nate Sanders.

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F1 Deputy Editor

– He has previously worked in rugby and British Superbikes.

– Studied history at the University of Reading

– Member of ESPNF1 in February 2014

The third and final day of testing takes place at the Bahrain International Circuit. This is the last available time for the teams for the Bahrain Grand Prix on the 28th. March.

What has happened so far?

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  • When the session started, the weather was much better than the first two days. The sun came out, the temperature dropped to 23°C and the wind died down.
  • Charles Leclerc set a good pace in his Ferrari with a time of 1:30.486 on the C3 compound tyre. The usual warnings about the unknown amount of fuel were given, but the lap times compared well with the best time of Valtteri Bottas, who crossed the finish line in 1:30.289 on Saturday with the fastest C5 compound.
  • Sergio Perez concentrated on the C2 tyres at the start of the session, but had to stop briefly when he had to return to the pits with a leak in his Red Bull. He returned to the track in the C3s in the third hour of the morning session and bettered Leclerc’s time of 1:30.309. Then in the final hour before the lunch break, he set the fastest time of the test in 1:30.187 at the C4 complex.
  • Max Verstappen hit his stride for Red Bull in the second half of the race, becoming the first driver to set a time under 90 seconds – 1:29.792. The fast time on the test tyre (identical to the C3, but made in Turkey rather than Hungary) only strengthened the growing belief that Red Bull would be the team to win the first race.

Sergio Perez took Red Bull to lunch on day three. Joe Portlock/Getty Images

  • Bottas continued his recovery in the Mercedes with runs of eight and nine laps in the C2 series, but didn’t seem focused on a one-lap performance.
  • Lewis Hamilton took over in the afternoon, but had to refuel heavily. It remains to be seen whether the Mercedes will show their true pace in the final hour of the test.
  • The opening session went off without a hitch, with no red flags slowing down the time. There were no major problems among the teams either, with all ten running a productive number of laps.
  • Aston Martin also seemed to concentrate on the race with plenty of fuel. The team left the garage with 90 minutes to go after encountering a problem with the car that forced it to close the valves at the front of the garage – something teams are only allowed to do when the floor of the car has been removed.
  • The evening session, which takes place under the lights, should showcase the most representative preseason to date. After that, the teams will have the chance to do qualifying simulations in conditions closer to those for the Bahrain Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

Sergio Perez took Red Bull to lunch on day three. Joe Portlock/Getty Images

Time with 1h30m to go

1. Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:29.942 (T) – 40 laps
3. 1. Ricciardo on McLaren – 1:30.144 (C4) – 29 laps
2. Perez – Red Bull – 1:30.187 (C4) – 49 laps
5. Raikkonen – Alfa Romeo – 1:30.441 (C4) – 132 laps4. Leclerc – Ferrari – 1:30.486 (C3) – 80 laps
8. Alonso – Alpine – 1:30.573 (C3) – 42 laps
6. Norris – McLaren – 1:30.661 (C3) – 56 laps
7. Ghazli – AlfaTauri – 1:30.828 (C4) – 76 laps
9. Okon – Alpine – 1:31.310 (C3) – 61 laps
10. Mazepin at Haas – 1:31.531 (C4) – 27 laps
11. Schumacher at Haas – 1:32.053 (C3) – 78 laps
12. Botti – Mercedes – 1:32.406 (C2) – 86 laps
13. Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:32.556 (T) – 33 laps
14. Russell at Williams – 1:32.731 (C2) – 136 laps
15. Vettel on Aston Martin – 1:35.041 (C3) – 56 laps16. Sainz – Ferrari – 1:35.050 (C2) – 62 laps
17. Tsunoda – Alpha Tauri – 1:35.200 (C2) – 59 laps
18. Race – Aston Martin – 1:36.100 (C3) – 80 laps

(Current rail connections are in brackets – T=test current rail equivalent to C3)

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