Felipe Massa set the fastest time of the third morning of the final test in Bahrain as Red Bull hit a new low.
Massa's time of 1:37.224 was over three quarters of a second clear of the field, and with 48 laps completed Williams continues to look in good shape ahead of Melbourne. The same can't be said for Red Bull, as Sebastian Vettel failed to emerge in the first two hours and then promptly stopped on track four corners in to his installation lap.
Things went from bad to worse when Vettel next tried to emerge as he was force to stop the RB10 at the end of the pit lane and was pictured helping push the car back to the garage.
After Sergio Perez was fastest on the opening two days, Force India continued to show strongly with Nico Hulkenberg second fastest. He was just over half a second clear of Nico Rosberg who missed the early running while Mercedes made a precautionary engine change following an “overnight inspection of high-mileage components”.
Daniil Kvyat had an encouraging morning for Toro Rosso as he completed 41 laps en-route to the fourth quickest time, while there was further cause for Renault optimism as Marcus Ericsson became the first driver to carry out a race simulation, though he was twice halted by red flags.
A “small problem” at McLaren restricted Marcus Ericsson to 24 laps as he set the fifth fastest time with a 1:40.252, while Kimi Raikkonen again hit trouble for Ferrari and only completed nine laps in total.
Aside from Vettel, Jules Bianchi caused the other red flag which brought the morning's running to a slightly premature end when he stopped at Turn 1. Marussia said the stoppage was due to a problem following a practice start, but will be pleased with the 55 laps it has already completed.
Sauber was another team to hit major trouble, with Adrian Sutil stopping at the pit entry at the end of his installation lap with a smoking engine and failing to emerge again in the morning.