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Verstappen doesn't care about fastest time, Leclerc P1 ahead of Russell

Verstappen doesn't care about fastest time, Leclerc P1 ahead of Russell

23 February - 16:21
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Nicole Mulder

The winter test in Bahrain is over. Although fast lap times are not the focus of the test days, the result of the final day is somewhat surprising: it was not Max Verstappen, but Charles Leclerc who recorded the fastest time. However, he did so on a compound softer than the Red Bull Racing driver. George Russell and Guanyu Zhou also reported at the front in the closing stages of the final test session.

Instead of two separate test sessions, Friday at the Bahrain International Circuit ended up consisting of one long session. This was all to do with a loose cover, which Charles Leclerc also fell victim to a day earlier, after Lewis Hamilton's car damaged the kerb. This time it was Sergio Perez who hit it, but the damage to his floor was not too bad.

Therefore, Perez was able to drive a virtually trouble-free session today. In the afternoon, Verstappen got back into the RB20, having just come out of the press conference. He soon took over first place, which until then had been in the name of Carlos Sainz. Sainz had accounted for the morning session and was alternated by Charles Leclerc in the afternoon.

Verstappen not busy with fastest time in Bahrain

After this, it was mostly a trade-off for the fastest time between Verstappen and Leclerc. Each time they took each other's first place, until Leclerc went out on the softs. According to Pirelli chief Mario Isola, the difference between the softs and mediums is about six to seven tenths and this was reflected in the times: Verstappen had to concede some four tenths to Leclerc's fastest time after this.

The Red Bull Racing driver clearly did not have driving the fastest time at the top of his priority list. Towards the end, a number of drivers still went for a so-called 'glory run': on the softs with little fuel on board. As a result, Verstappen was relegated to P4 by Russell and none other than Stake F1 driver Guanyu Zhou.

On the other hand, the Dutchman showed his car's pace on the long runs. While the setting of the cars are unknown, Verstappen was constantly ahead of his competition, and was like a metronome, delivering the lap time he was asked to do.

Results | Third day of winter testing Bahrain