Max Verstappen maintained a perfect performance in this year’s free practice sessions and set a convincingly fastest lap in the third free practice for the Bahrain GP, with Pierre Gasly splitting the Mercedes drivers in third place for AlphaTauri.
The third free practice started in very hot conditions with an air temperature of 38 degrees and a track temperature of 47 degrees, as opposed to the evening conditions that drivers will experience in qualifying and the race where the track temperature will be 10-15 degrees lower.
Bottas was the first to set the lap time on soft Pirelli tyres, but his time 1:33.4 was deleted due to a wide exit from the Turn 4. Sainz temporarily took over the top on hard tyres before Hamilton drove his first lap on soft tyres 1:32.9.
Sainz set one second slower time than Hamilton on hards, but then Perez came out on the track in his Red Bull, also on the hardest component available C2, and set the second fastest time, eight tenths behind Hamilton.
Verstappen drove the best second sector on hard tyres and took the lead from Hamilton with a three-tenths advantage with a lap of 1:32.6 and Norris set the third best time for McLaren on the softs.
After half time has elapsed, Gasly set the second best time for AlphaTauri on the softs and seven minutes later he took first place with a lap 1:32.2, three tenths ahead of Verstappen.
Sainz set the best time for Ferrari on medium tyres (1:32.1), but his time was first knocked down by Bottas (1:31.8) and then by Hamilton who drove the three fastest sectors for a half-second advantage over his teammate, both using soft tyres.
Red Bull drivers spent almost the entire training on hard tyres, unlike Mercedes which used only softs, and Verstappen and Perez came out on soft tyres just ten minutes before the end.
Perez set the third fastest time with the best third sector, five hundredths behind Bottas, and Verstappen convincingly knocked down Hamilton’s best time with a lap of 1:30.577, seven tenths ahead of Hamilton.
Gasly was third for AlphaTauri with one second slower lap than Verstappen while Bottas was fourth for Mercedes with a big gap behind his teammate.
Perez finished fifth for Red Bull ahead of Sainz on the medium who was again a faster Ferrari driver, and Raikkonen in Alfa Romeo and Ocon in Alpine surprised with seventh and eighth fastest times.
Stroll was again faster than Vettel in ninth place for Aston Martin and Ricciardo was a better placed McLaren driver in tenth place.
Leclerc was four tenths slower than Sainz in 11th place, also on medium tyres, ahead of Giovinazzi in Alfa Romeo and Tsunoda in AlphaTauri who made a mistake in the last fast lap while Vettel was only 14th for Aston Martin, three tenths behind Stroll .
Alonso was again slower than Ocon and finished 15th ahead of Norris in McLaren who did not drive a good fast lap on the soft, and the last four places were taken by drivers Haas and Williams.
The first qualifying session of the new F1 season start at 18:00 (local time).
2021 BAHRAIN GP FP3 RESULTS
|1||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1:30.577||11|
|5||11||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull/Honda||1:31.908||1.331||11|
|6||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Ferrari||1:32.108||1.531||16|
|7||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1:32.224||1.647||15|
|9||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin/Mercedes||1:32.431||1.854||13|
|14||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin/Mercedes||1:32.755||2.178||15|
2021 BAHRAIN GP TIMETABLE
|1st free practice||Fri 14:30|
|2nd free practice||Fri 18:00|
|3rd free practice||Sat 15:00|