Red Bull’s Sergio Perez set a new fastest lap of Formula 1 pre-season testing on the final morning of running in Bahrain.

Perez’s new benchmark came during the last hour of the morning session on the third and final day of pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit as Red Bull sampled Pirelli’s Soft tyres for the first time.

The Mexican had already shot to the top of the timesheets on the Medium C3 tyres before he strapped on a set of C4s and found an extra two-tenths on a 1m30.187s.

Despite being set amid the scorching heat of the Sakhir day, Perez’s time was over a tenth faster than Valtteri Bottas’ previous best effort on the fastest C5 compound from Saturday evening.

Perez headed early pacesetter Charles Leclerc by nearly three-tenths, though the Ferrari driver posted his fastest time on C3s during the first hour of running.

Lando Norris continued McLaren’s excellent pre-season test in his final appearance in the MCL35M before the opening race, with his best lap also coming on Mediums.

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly was fourth-fastest ahead of Esteban Ocon, who returned to action for Alpine after sitting out the second day of running.

F1 rookie Mick Schumacher sat sixth in the timesheets in his Haas, while Bottas racked up some much-needed mileage for Mercedes as he completed 86 laps with the German manufacturer continuing to make up for lost time after a troubled first two days.

George Russell is in action for the first time for Williams as he gets a full day of running under his belt in the team’s updated FW43B challenger. The Briton ended the morning in P8, logging 77 laps.

As the only other driver to conduct a full day of running, Kimi Raikkonen focused largely on long-runs for Alfa Romeo in the morning as he completed the most laps with 91.

Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll was nearly six seconds off the pace as he concluded his testing programme by adding an encouraging 80 laps to the British squad’s total after gearbox issues hampered its running on Saturday.




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