Charles Leclerc goes quickest as F1 pre-season testing concludes in Bahrain

Charles Leclerc goes quickest as F1 pre-season testing concludes in Bahrain

Charles Leclerc topped the timesheet as Formula 1 pre-season testing came to a close in Bahrain. The Ferrari beat Mercedes driver George Russell by just under five hundredths of a second with Stake F1’s Zhou Guanyiu third. All three used the softer C4 Pirelli compound to finish ahead of world champion who took his Red Bull Racing RB20 to within half a second of Leclerc. 


In the morning session it was Leclerc's team-mate Carlos Sainz who led the way ahead Red Bull's Sergio Perez but running was then halted for the second day in a row by a broken drain cover.After a one-hour delay for repairs, the decision was taken to cancel the scheduled lunch break and following the resumption of the session running continued uninterrupted right through to 7pm. 


Leclerc, in for Sainz in the afternoon, jumped to third place behind fastest behind his team-mate and Pérez but eventually Verstappen, who had taken over from Pérez in the Red Bull posted a lap of 1:30.763s on C3 tyres to take top spot. 


Leclerc responded by bolting on a set of softer C4 compound Pirellis and promptly moved ahead on 1:30.409s. The Monegasque driver later put on another set of the same compound (which will not be raced at next week’s season-opener in Bahrain) and went even quicker, logging a lap of 1:30.322s to move 0.433s ahead of the Red Bull driver.


RB's Yuki Tsunoda then also used the C4 tyres to move to third place but he was second shy of Leclerc. Russell then switched to C4s and he rose above Verstappen to take P2 on 1:30.368 with Zhou following him in third, though almost three tenths off the Mercedes driver and just over a tenth ahead of Verstappen despite his tyre advantage. 


Tsunoda was left with fifth place, while Alex Albon took sixth. The Williams man was the only driver to stay in the car all day, completing 121 laps. McLaren's Oscar Piastri and Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso took P7 and P8 respectively and the top ten order was rounded out by morning runners Sainz and Perez 


Haas’ Nico Hülkenberg was 12th ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton , while Lance Stroll was 13th for Aston Martin ahead of Lando Norris who suffered a suspected clutch issue earlier in the day. Alpine’s Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon completed a low-key test for Alpine in 15th and 17th respectively, with the pair separated by Haas' Kevin Magnussen.


A long way back from his team Stake team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished in P18 after he had limited morning running and a long spell in the garage while RB's Daniel Ricciardo was last on the timesheet. 


2024 FIA Formula 1 Pre-Season Testing Bahrain – Day 3 
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:30.322 74 C4
2 George Russell Mercedes 1:30.368 +0.046s 67 C4
3 Zhou Guanyu Stake F1 1:30.647 +0.325s 85 C4
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:30.755 +0.433s 66 C3
5 Yuki Tsunoda RB 1:30.775 +0.453s 53 C4
6 Alexander Albon Williams 1:30.984 +0.662s 121 C4
7 Oscar Piastri Mclaren 1:31.030 +0.708s 91 C3
8 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:31.159 +0.837s 75 C3
9 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:31.247 +0.925s 71 C3
10 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing 1:31.483 +1.161s 53 C3
11 Nico Hulkenberg Haas 1:31.686 +1.364s 89 C3
12 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:31.999 +1.677s 49 C5
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:32.038 +1.716s 46 C3
14 Lando Norris Mclaren 1:32.108 +1.786s 20 C3
15 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:32.149 +1.827s 47 C3
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:33.053 +2.731s 80 C3
17 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:33.079 +2.757s 55 C3
18 Valtteri Bottas Stake F1 1:33.528 +3.206s 28 C3
19 Daniel Ricciardo RB 1:37.015 +6.693s 70 C1

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