until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

What happened on final morning of pre-season F1 testing

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

Ferrari Formula 1 driver Carlos Sainz remained on top as 2024 pre-season testing entered its final phase on the third day of three in Bahrain.

Sainz, who had topped Wednesday's action with the test's first sub-1m30s lap on the C4 tyre, was out front on the harder, yellow-walled C3 rubber this time.

An early effort - less than 30 minutes into the session - of 1m31.247s lifted him over eight tenths of a second clear of McLaren's Lando Norris.

And it had come just in time, too, because just minutes later Sergio Perez's Red Bull dislodged the drain cover at Turn 11 - in the same spot where that had already happened the day before - and brought out a red flag.

Unlike Charles Leclerc's Ferrari SF-24 the day before, Perez's RB20 was seemingly undamaged - but a repeat incidence of the track issue required a lengthy intervention, with the red-flag stoppage spanning over an hour as welding work was carried out at Turn 11.

It meant the designated lunchbreak was effectively sacrificed to ensure teams weren't unduly mileage-limited because of the track issue.

Once green-flag running resumed, Perez gradually lowered his personal best on the mid-range C3 rubber to eventually end up a quarter of a second down on Sainz.

The only other driver to pop up in the sub-1m32s range was Lewis Hamilton - and this was with the rarely-seen C5 tyre, the softest available in the test range (the C3 will be the softest available in the actual Bahrain Grand Prix weekend).

Hamilton's 1m31.999s leaves him three quarters of a second adrift of Sainz and just narrowly ahead of Aston Martin's Lance Stroll and Norris, who was limited to 20 laps by what was reported as a clutch issue.

Williams and Haas were two teams that recorded their fastest respective time of the test yet, with Alex Albon very narrowly improving on the Wednesday best of Williams team-mate Logan Sargeant and Kevin Magnussen doing what looked like the first low-fuel run for Haas in this entire test.

Alpine's Esteban Ocon and Sauber's Valtteri Bottas placed right behind them in eighth and ninth respectively, Bottas logging just 28 laps.

The RB in the hands of Daniel Ricciardo was last, having run in a very high-fuel laptime range throughout - with the Aussie completing 70 laps that included a race simulation.

Those 70 laps, however, were still short of the 80 recorded by Magnussen in the Haas, which is currently on course to finish the test as its 'mileage champion'.

FRIDAY MORNING TIMES

1 Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) 1m31.247s, C3, 67 laps
2 Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +0.236s, C3, 51 laps
3 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +0.752s, C5, 49 laps
4 Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) +0.791s, C3, 46 laps
5 Lando Norris (McLaren) +0.861s, C3, 20 laps
6 Alex Albon (Williams) +1.336s, C3, 35 laps
7 Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +1.806s, C3, 80 laps
8 Esteban Ocon (Alpine) +1.832s, C3, 55 laps
9 Valtteri Bottas (Sauber) +2.281s, C3, 28 laps
10 Daniel Ricciardo (RB) +5.768s, C1, 70 laps

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