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Max Verstappen fastest in FP3 in Bahrain!

Max Verstappen fastest in FP3 in Bahrain!

19 March - 11:43
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Max Verstappen went quickest in the final Free Practice session ahead of Qualifying in Bahrain, as F1's opening round of a new era continues in the Middle East. Charles Leclerc also showed good pace for Ferrari, finishing second, with Sergio Perez in third. Mercedes had a more difficult session and will need to improve ahead of Qualifying if they're to take pole position, with George Russell fourth and Lewis Hamilton sixth.

Alfa Romeo were first to set a lap, with Valtteri Bottas going marginally quicker than his Chinese team mate Guanyu Zhou. Hamilton put in a solid lap early on, jumping to the top of the timesheets before Ferrari and Red Bull got up to speed.

Leclerc went quickest, before Verstappen smashed his time by three-quarters of a second. Soon after, the Monegasque driver went for a spin at Turn 11, just stopping short of the wall and escaping the gravel trap.

New Mercedes driver Russell wasn't experiencing the fairytale full-time debut at the German team, complaining of understeer as the team's struggles continued. But they didn't last as the young Brit went P1 with 15 minutes to go, exactly a tenth ahead of Verstappen, with Hamilton close behind.

Russell's time at the top lasted a matter of minutes as teams whacked up the power, with Leclerc going three-tenths faster than the one-time F1 podium finisher, before Verstappen leapfrogged back up to P1 soon after, which is where he stayed.

Sainz ended the session fifth, confirming Ferrari are right in the mix

Alfa Romeo and Haas were impressive, making strides after difficult 2021 seasons for both. Haas' Kevin Magnussen was seventh, ahead of the Alfa Romeo pair of Bottas and Zhou, with Aston Martin's Lance Stroll rounding out the top ten.

Qualifying begins at 15:00 GMT and you can follow it live on GPBlog.com.

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