Bahrain GP: Verstappen outpaces Hamilton by 0.7s in FP3

Max Verstappen completed a 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix practice clean sweep for Red Bull, as he topped FP3 by nearly three-quarters of a second over Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

Bahrain GP: Verstappen outpaces Hamilton by 0.7s in FP3
Listen to this article

Track temperatures at the start of the final one-hour practice session of the weekend were nearly hitting 50 degrees, which meant the teams opted to spend the first 10 minutes in the pits – with only Yuki Tsunoda completing an installation lap when the track went live.

Valtteri Bottas ended the tedium after 10 minutes, eventually going straight out on the soft tyres for his first run.

But the Finn missed the Turn 1 apex on his first flying lap and ran off the track, then lost his next two flying laps for running too wide out of the wide Turn 4 right-hander, the times deleted for track limits infractions at that spot.

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz therefore set the first P1 benchmark after nearly 20 minutes of the session had passed, a 1m33.931s on the hard tyres.

But Sainz was quickly demoted by Hamilton's first flying lap of the session – like Bottas the world champion was out on the softs for his opening run – a 1m32.933s, which looked much more stable through the lap than the ones completed by his Mercedes teammate.

A few minutes later, Verstappen went to the top of the times with his first flying run after 25 minutes had passed, as he set a 1m32.617s on the hard tyres.

This stood as the benchmark for over 10 minutes before Pierre Gasly swept into the top spot during another lull in action, the AlphaTauri driver setting a 1m32.321s on the softs.

After two thirds of the session had passed, the Mercedes cars went for another soft tyre run, with Bottas again going first.

His car appeared to be handling more compliantly and he duly went quickest with a 1m31.855s, demoting Sainz, who had gone quickest on a 1m32.108s on the medium tyres just ahead of Bottas.

But Hamilton was on a rapid lap behind and he blitzed to the top with a 1m31.316s that at the time featured the fastest times in all three sectors.

Then it was Red Bull's turn to fit softs for the first time in FP3, with Sergio Perez running first.

Then Mexican was adrift of Hamilton's time in the first two sectors and although he went then quickest of all in the final segment, he wound up 0.5s adrift of the Mercedes.

But Verstappen's first soft-tyre flying lap was sublime – he edged Hamilton by 0.074s in the first sector and then looked supremely well balanced in the middle sector, which took him over 0.6s clear.

The fastest time in the final sector duly followed and Verstappen shot to the top with a 1m30.577s, which put into P1 by 0.739s over Hamilton.

Gasly had crossed the line on another soft-tyre flying lap just before Verstappen set the session's best time, which was an improvement for the Frenchman that meant he finished the session in third place.

Bottas was therefore shuffled down to fourth, ahead of Perez and Sainz, who did not use the soft tyres for a flying lap in FP3.

Kimi Raikkonen led Esteban Ocon in seventh and eighth for Alfa Romeo and Alpine respectively, with Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) and McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo rounding out the top 10.

Charles Leclerc had an early-session spin, losing the rear of his SF21 as he put the power down after clipping the Turn 2 apex.

But the Ferrari driver was able to stop well before reaching the gravel trap and the barriers beyond – where Raikkonen crashed in FP2 – and he recovered to the pits before ending up with the session's 11th best time – also set on the medium tyres.

Tsunoda finished 13th, ahead of Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel, who had to pit mid-way through the session after a part from the front-left of his AMR21 appeared to work its way loose and glanced off the four-time world champion's helmet.

Fernando Alonso was 15th in the second Alpine car, just in front of Lando Norris and George Russell.

Nikita Mazepin was another spinner, losing the rear of his Haas at the 30-minute mark, as he went through the high-speed Turns 6/7 sequence early in the middle sector.

Mazepin ended up 19th, with Nicholas Latifi last for Williams.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 11 1'30.577  
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 14 1'31.316 0.739
3 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 13 1'31.583 1.006
4 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 16 1'31.855 1.278
5 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 11 1'31.908 1.331
6 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 16 1'32.108 1.531
7 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 15 1'32.224 1.647
8 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 11 1'32.423 1.846
9 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 13 1'32.431 1.854
10 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 12 1'32.477 1.900
11 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 17 1'32.482 1.905
12 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 11 1'32.500 1.923
13 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 15 1'32.709 2.132
14 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 15 1'32.755 2.178
15 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 15 1'32.820 2.243
16 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 10 1'32.860 2.283
17 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 14 1'33.323 2.746
18 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 14 1'33.422 2.845
19 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 14 1'33.622 3.045
20 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 16 1'33.959 3.382
shares
comments

Related video

Red Bull needs cost cap “accommodation” for F1 sprint races
Previous article

Red Bull needs cost cap “accommodation” for F1 sprint races

Next article

Pirelli would have been "stupid" not to use more robust 2021 tyre

Pirelli would have been "stupid" not to use more robust 2021 tyre
Load comments
Why Mercedes' Spanish GP gains aren't as grand as they seemed Prime

Why Mercedes' Spanish GP gains aren't as grand as they seemed

Mercedes' strong showing in last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix prompted team boss Toto Wolff to say it had halved its deficit to the leaders and its Formula 1 title chances were back on after a rocky start to the 2022 campaign. But a closer inspection of the team's performance suggests its gains aren't as grand as they first appeared

What's next for the Green Red Bull controversy? Prime

What's next for the Green Red Bull controversy?

From the 'pink Mercedes' to the 'Green Red Bull', the Silverstone-based team has received suspicious glares from up and down the Formula 1 paddock over its car design exploits. But after being cleared by the FIA over its Spanish Grand Prix updates amid a backdrop of cries of foul play, what's next in this saga?

Formula 1
May 24, 2022
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

In an unusually hectic Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc was denied a dominant performance by his Ferrari engine letting go which allowed Max Verstappen to pick up the pieces. But numerous flashpoints kept the race twisting and turning throughout, with one perfect score from an emerging contender

Formula 1
May 23, 2022
How Verstappen overcame his and Red Bull’s errors to win in Spain Prime

How Verstappen overcame his and Red Bull’s errors to win in Spain

Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari engine disaster offered an open goal for Max Verstappen and Red Bull to strike, but the reigning Formula 1 world champion still had to solve multiple errors and profit from a begrudged assist from team-mate Sergio Perez, which created an unexpectedly eventful Spanish Grand Prix

Formula 1
May 23, 2022
Why Red Bull can win a Spanish GP that looked perfect for Ferrari Prime

Why Red Bull can win a Spanish GP that looked perfect for Ferrari

Formula 1's return to Spain on Friday ended with Ferrari leading the way from Mercedes, while Red Bull could only manage third fastest overall courtesy of Max Verstappen. But its chances of victory are far from remote with a deeper dig into the times despite Ferrari's strong start...

Formula 1
May 20, 2022
The key aspects of Porsche and Audi's planned F1 entries Prime

The key aspects of Porsche and Audi's planned F1 entries

The VW Group’s German superpowers of sportscar racing have all but confirmed they are coming to F1 when the next set of engine rules come into force in 2026. Here's why both manufacturers are all set to take the plunge, and crucially how it might work

Formula 1
May 19, 2022
How Vegas went from byword for F1 indifference to grand Liberty coup Prime

How Vegas went from byword for F1 indifference to grand Liberty coup

Holding a race in Las Vegas – party central, a city of dreams and decadence and, yes, more than a smattering of tackiness – has been on Liberty Media’s most-wanted list since it acquired Formula 1’s commercial rights. But, as LUKE SMITH explains, F1 has been here before and the relationship didn’t work out

Formula 1
May 18, 2022
Why de Vries' FP1 outing could add a new path to his current crossroads Prime

Why de Vries' FP1 outing could add a new path to his current crossroads

A Formula 2 and Formula E champion, Nyck de Vries is currently considering where his future in motorsport lies. Continuing in WEC and Formula E is possible and he's also courted glances Stateside after impressing in an IndyCar test. But ahead of his Formula 1 FP1 debut with Williams, he could have another option if he impresses...

Formula 1
May 18, 2022