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Verstappen clean sweep in Bahrain GP practice with Hamilton adrift

Verstappen clean sweep in Bahrain GP practice with Hamilton adrift

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Verstappen clean sweep in Bahrain GP practice with Hamilton adrift

Verstappen clean sweep in Bahrain GP practice with Hamilton adrift

Max Verstappen made it a clean sweep in practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix to leave the Red Bull driver on course for pole position.

When Verstappen strapped on a set of the soft-compound Pirelli tyres at the Bahrain International Circuit, Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were at the top of the timesheeet.

But Verstappen blew them away with a lap of one minute 30.577secs, finishing three-quarters-of-a-second clear of Hamilton, while Bottas dropped to fourth after being leapfrogged by AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly who finished third quickest.

With the session run in the extreme heat of the day, the conditions were again far from representative of those that will be experienced in qualifying and the race.

The track temperature was just short of 50 degrees centigrade at the start of the hour-long run, while the air temperature was a scorching 38.4 degrees.

Even Alpine, in its pre-race information, stated "with the extremely high temperatures it will be difficult to draw many conclusions from FP3".

Unlike in the first two sessions on Friday, when a flurry of cars took to the circuit at the start to make the most of the shortened run time that is now 60 minutes from 90, it was not until 15 minutes in that a lap was posted.

There was the inevitable late rush, with Verstappen out in front by some distance and with Mercedes and Hamilton with work to do to have any hope of claiming a 99th pole of his career.

Verstappen's new Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez obviously has time to find in the RB16B as the Mexican finished 1.331s down on the Dutchman as fifth quickest.

Perez was followed by Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, on the medium tyre, and Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen, while Alpine finally offered up some pace as Esteban Ocon was eighth, although the returning Fernando Alonso was down in 15th, with half-a-second separating them.

Aston Martin's Lance Stroll and McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo completed the top 10, with the latter 1.900s behind Verstappen.

Charles Leclerc in his Ferrari, also on the medium Pirellis, and Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi were the only other drivers inside two seconds of Verstappen, with AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda 13th ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel endured a minor scare during the session as he announced over his team radio that a part of his Aston Martin "came off from the front-left corner and hit me in the face".

Behind Alonso were McLaren's Lando Norris, 2.283s down, followed by Williams' George Russell, Haas pair Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, with Nicholas Latifit in the second Williams at the rear, with the Canadian 3.382s off the pace.

Bahrain Grand Prix final practice times

1 Max Verstappen [Red Bull] 1:30.577s

2 Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] 1:31.316s

3 Pierre Gasly [AlphaTauri] 1:31.583s

4 Valtteri Bottas [Mercedes] 1:31.855s

5 Sergio Perez [Red Bull] 1:31.908s

6 Carlos Sainz [Ferrari] 1:32.108s

7 Kimi Raikkonen [Alfa Romeo] 1:32.224s

8 Esteban Ocon [Alpine] 1:32.423s

9 Lance Stroll [Aston Martin] 1:32.431s

10 Daniel Ricciardo [McLaren] 1:32.477s

11 Charles Leclerc [Ferrari] 1:32.482s

12 Antonio Giovinazzi [Alfa Romeo] 1:32.500s

13 Yuki Tsunoda [AlphaTauri] 1:32.709s

14 Sebastian Vettel [Aston Martin] 1:32.755s

15 Fernando Alonso [Alpine] 1:32.820s

16 Lando Norris [McLaren] 1:32.860s

17 George Russell [Williams] 1:33.323s

18 Mick Schumacher [Haas] 1:33.422s

19 Nikita Mazepin [Haas] 1:33.622s

20 Nicholas Latifi [Williams] 1:33.959s

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