Red Bull’s Max Verstappen launched himself to the top of the timesheets in final practice to set the pace ahead of the two Mercedes drivers going into qualifying for Formula 1’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

After Mercedes led the way throughout Friday practice in Sakhir, Red Bull hit back in the last 60-minute practice session with Verstappen posting a 1m28.355s to head newly-crowned seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton by 0.263s.

Valtteri Bottas was a further tenth behind his Mercedes teammate as Verstappen teased the potential of a mouth-watering prospect for qualifying by unleashing extra pace out of his RB16, though FP3 was held in conditions that are unrepresentative of qualifying and the race, both of which take place under the lights.

Alex Albon bounced back from his huge FP2 shunt - which led to Red Bull completing a chassis change on his car - to finish the session fourth-fastest, 0.663s behind his teammate.

Carlos Sainz was fifth, with the two McLarens split by Pierre Gasly, who was a tenth clear of Lando Norris and his AlphaTauri teammate Daniil Kvyat.

Rounding out the top 10 were the two Racing Points of Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez, who was 1.3s off the pace and just ahead of Renault pair Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon.

The Ferrari’s of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc were only 13th and 15th with Antonio Giovinazzi putting his Alfa Romeo between them.

George Russell was 16th-quickest in his Williams, with the Haas duo of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo and Nicholas Latifi rounding out the rest of the FP3 order.




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