Red Bull’s Max Verstappen set a blistering pace to complete a practice sweep at Formula 1’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, finishing seven-tenths clear of Lewis Hamilton.

During the low-fuel runs set of Soft tyres in the final 60 minute practice session in Bahrain, Verstappen unleashed more glimpses of the potential of his RB16B as Red Bull continued its strong start to the weekend ahead of the first qualifying session of the year.

The Dutchman’s 1m30.577s was 0.739s faster than what reigning world champion Hamilton could manage in his Mercedes W12, while Pierre Gasly put his AlphaTauri third in the timesheets.

FP3 times should be taken with some caution given that track conditions were the hottest of the weekend so far and not representative of what we will see when the temperatures come down under the lights in qualifying on Saturday evening.

Valtteri Bottas struggled to match the pace of his teammate as he finished fourth in the second Mercedes, some 1.278s down on Verstappen’s benchmark time, while Sergio Perez completed the top five.

Ferrari’s encouraging start to the weekend continued as Carlos Sainz set a time good enough for P6 on Medium tyres, while Kimi Raikkonen also caught the eye on his way to taking seventh in his Alfa Romeo.

Esteban Ocon, Lance Stroll and Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the rest of the top-10 order for Alpine, Aston Martin and McLaren respectively.

Charles Leclerc suffered a spin in his Ferrari at Turn 2 on his way to the 11th-best time, while Haas rookie Nikita Mazepin also found himself facing the wrong way after another big moment coming out of Turn 6.

FULL RESULTS FROM FINAL PRACTICE FOR THE 2021 F1 BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX.

 

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