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Verstappen fastest in Bahrain final practice; Hamilton second in close pursuit

Verstappen fastest in Bahrain final practice; Hamilton second in close pursuit

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Verstappen fastest in Bahrain final practice; Hamilton second in close pursuit

Verstappen fastest in Bahrain final practice; Hamilton second in close pursuit

Max Verstappen topped final practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix from Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas despite suffering from a DRS problem across the session.

With the race itself taking place in the cooler conditions of the night, many teams and drivers elected not to run in the early stages of the session.

Hamilton had topped both of the two sessions on Friday but fell 0.263 seconds short of the session topping effort of Verstappen, the Dutchman leading the way with a time of one minute 28.355.

The two had traded session best times across the closing half-hour of running but both suffered reliability woes, with the Red Bull driver hampered by an DRS issue which saw the wing flap wildly in the wind, and Hamilton struck by an electrical issue late on.

Valtteri Bottas was third, a further tenth back on his Mercedes team-mate, with Alex Albon recovering from his Friday crash to go fourth fastest.

McLaren and AlphaTauri will be quietly satisfied with its running ahead of qualifying with Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris fifth and seventh for McLaren, and Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat sixth and eighth.

Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez rounded out the top ten for Racing Point but only Hamilton, Bottas and Albon were able to lap within a second of Verstappen.

Renault narrowly missed out on the top ten with Daniel Ricciardo leading Esteban Ocon and Ferrari, who still hold a faint hope of taking third place in the constructors' standings managing only to place Sebastian Vettel 13th and Charles Leclerc 15th.

George Russell gave Williams hope it could escape Q1 later in the day setting the 16th fastest time, but the Briton was still four-tenths off what would have been the cut-off point.

Had this been Q1, Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen, Kimi Raikkonen and Nicholas Latifi would also have dropped out in the first phase.

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