F1 Testing: See how Day 3 in Bahrain unfolded

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Bahrain practice standing start. March 2022.

Drivers line-up on the grid in Bahrain to practice a standing start. March 2022.

Catch-up with all the action and major talking points as pre-season testing came to a close in Bahrain.

Main headlines: Daniel Ricciardo missed final day following positive Covid test, Red Bull unveiled upgraded sidepods, Hamilton-Gasly battled in a promising sign for following and overtaking, Perez topped morning session. Valtteri Bottas stops with potential gearbox issue. Verstappen ends day three and the test fastest.

Day Three timesheet: 

1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1.31.720 C5 53
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1.32.415 C4 51
3 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1.32.698 C4 122
4 George Russell Mercedes 1.32.759 C5 71
5 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1.32.985 C3 68
6 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1.33.002 C5 57
7 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1.33.105 C4 43
8 Mick Schumacher Haas 1.33.151 C3 57
9 Lando Norris McLaren 1.33.191 C2 90
10 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1.33.821 C4 81
11 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1.33.959 C4 82
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1.34.865 C4 91
13 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1.34.905 C5 68
14 Alex Albon Williams 1.35.171 C3 18
15 Nicholas Latifi Williams 1.35.634 C3 124
16 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1.36.029 C3 53
17 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1.36.217 C5 78
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1.38.616 C2 38

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Live updates (local time):

2100: Haas just love having the track to themselves. Schumacher ended the day with the second-fastest time, a 1:32.241 on the C4s.

1900: And that is the end of the group pre-season test, though Haas will now have extra track time to themselves. But, as for the official joint running, it is Verstappen and Red Bull firmly on top. Latifi heads the lap count with 124.

1857: That’s the best that the Alpine has looked all day. On the softs Alonso improves to P3, just within a second of Verstappen’s benchmark.

1855: A swift, smooth practice stop there from the Red Bull crew. Verstappen heads back out on medium tyres.

1853: Red Bull surely must be the favourites now for the season-opener as Verstappen finds another two-and-a-half tenths. All smiles for Helmut Marko in the garage.

1850: 10 minutes remain!

1847: Russell obstructs Norris there in a major way at the exit of Turn 7, he later has a snap of understeer, forcing him to give up on that lap.

1845: That Alpine does not look stable at all, Alonso was fighting it throughout his latest push lap.

1841: Verstappen is back on top, but his 1:31.9 would not have stood come next weekend since he went very wide at Turn 4. But anyway, he is fastest here on day three of testing, can anyone deny him in the last 20 minutes?

1837: Verstappen spins at the start of the main straight as he prepares for a flying lap. The C5 tyres will not have liked that.

1834: Bottas’ Alfa has been cleared and we are back to green with a quarter of an hour remaining.

1824: He has parked the C42 well out of the way in the run-off after Turn 4, but the car is not budging so the red flags are out.

1821: And now Bottas has pulled up, it looks like he is stuck in fourth gear, a repeat of what happened yesterday.

1820: Bottas goes purple in Sector 3 as he jumps up to P4.

1815: Verstappen’s 1:37.5 on the hard tyres has captured attention since he is on a race run. Most of the grid are back to the these simulations now.

1809: Tsunoda sets a 1:33.0 on the softs, promoting him to P4, but we dare say that would not have stood if track limits were in force. Norris struggles to get his McLaren slowed down as he enters the pit lane.

1808: A handy 1:33.2 from Bottas on the mediums slots him into P6. Norris meanwhile gets all out of shape as he approaches the AlphaTauri. A moment like that raises questions over how much dirty air has actually been cut away for the following car.

1803: Into the final hour of Bahrain testing! For everyone but Haas that is, who have an extra couple of hours available to them after the chequered flag.

1758: Russell improves to a 1:32.759, narrowing the deficit to Leclerc to 0.344s, but it is almost painful just watching how bad that W13 is bouncing down the straights.

1755: Russell aborted his latest push lap on the softs but is winding up for another.

1752: That’s a very nice effort from Schumacher who jumps up to P5 and that was on the medium rubber. He is only seven-tenths down on Leclerc.

1748: Verstappen passes a Williams into Turn 1. Albon and Latifi are swapping around for this afternoon session which is not particularly helpful.

1743: It’s a 1:32.888 on the softs for Russell, just under half-a-second down on Leclerc.

1741: Tsunoda and Russell got very, very close there as Russell tried to make the overtake at Turn 11. Tsunoda held firm so Russell backs off to prepare for a new flying lap.

1730: Ironically, Sainz had just told Sky Italia: “Everyone says we are the strongest? Now Verstappen has set the best time and then they’ll say that about Red Bull.” Poor Carlos.

1726: There we go, Leclerc moves into P1, a 1:32.415 is now the Bahrain benchmark.

1719: The sun is setting and the floodlights are taking effect. Now we may start to see Verstappen’s P1 time challenged. Leclerc, four-tenths back in P2, is the closest challenger currently.

1718: There we go, back to green.

1716: Red flag. Schumacher has spun the Haas as he put the power down out of the final corner. He collects it though and trundles back to the pits. The track should be green again soon.

1714: The back end of that Ferrari steps out on Leclerc big time at Turn 4. Luckily he gets it back under control and continues. Bottas meanwhile pulls an overtake on Norris into Turn 1.

1708: So this could be significant considering Ricciardo’s absence from the test due to Covid. Should they wish, McLaren can now call upon Alpine reserve and reigning Formula 2 champ Oscar Piastri.

1657: A smooth practice stop on Verstappen’s RB18 as driver and car are then wheeled back into the garage.

1653: Vettel improves again to a 1:33.8. Still no time found by Russell on his latest soft-tyre push lap.

1650: A huge helping of understeer there for Alpine’s Fernando Alonso at Turn 11 as he kicks-up the sand.

1649: Back out Russell goes after a practice start at the pit exit.

1646: Here goes Russell for a lap on the soft rubber, though he does not appear to be giving it 100% attack. 1.6s down on Verstappen’s time with that one as he improves to P6.

1644: We finally have Leclerc out there. His first push lap in the Ferrari F1-75 takes him into P5.

1635: Verstappen is pushing the RB18 now and sets a 1:32.645 to shoot to the top of the standings with the fastest time of the week. That was on the C3 tyre as well. Expect that time to be attacked later on.

1633: A 1:35.153 on the medium rubber for Russell, the W13 was bouncing viciously down the straight.

1631: DRS open as Russell sets off on a flying lap. Verstappen has emerged from the Red Bull garage to take to the track.

1625: McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl says it is a “front-right axle” issue, relating to the brake which has severely limited their running. The true upgrades to fix the issue will only be available come “next week” for the season-opener here in Bahrain.

1614: It is race simulation time out there again for most of the drivers.

1600: Max Verstappen is now out on the track, we are not seeing any clear changes to the RB18 which Perez drove this morning.

1557: No sign of any track time from Ferrari just yet, they are busy doing some allignment checks on the F1-75 in the garage. Red Bull reportedly may be about to unveil another upgrade.

1548: Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel pops up to P3 as he puts in a push lap on the medium compound.

1540: 12 laps remains the longest stint which Norris has put together, will he manage a race simulation before the day ends?

1537: Russell struggles to get the grip on those hard tyres as understeer takes him wide and ruins that push lap.

1534: Norris is back out on the track but not pushing as of yet, Russell meanwhile exits the Mercedes garage to join his compatriot.

1528: Excuse us, the VSC was due to a marshal venturing out to pick up the debris shed from the Williams. It seems Williams have updated their flow vis paint actually. Either that or the loss of bodywork has caused it great pain. Track is back to green now.

1526: Virtual Safety Car, it seems to be a system test.

1522: Something came flying off the side of Alex Albon’s Williams there as he exited Turn 3.

1521: Norris returns to the pits after some early laps. The brakes were still troubling McLaren during the morning session after the new parts were bolted on.

1512: George Russell is in for Mercedes, after a few laps of the circuit he takes to the pit lane for a practice start.

1511: Haas it seems have the VF-22 fixed after this morning’s water pressure and fuel system issues. Mick Schumacher is taking over from Magnussen for this afternoon and looks set to head out shortly.

1503: Valtteri Bottas heads straight out for an installation lap, before taking his Alfa Romeo to the pit lane exit for a practice start. Back out onto the track he goes.

1500: Welcome back everyone! The track is green for the final session of 2022 pre-season testing in Bahrain.

1400: It went better this time. Gasly on pole, Perez P2. Gasly roars off into Turn 1. But it is Perez on top of the timings this morning as the session reaches its end.

1357: Ah right, an anticlimax, they are doing an extra formation lap again.

1356: It is actually happening, Gasly on pole, Perez P2 for the standing start.

1353: Systems checked, Race Control want to try the standing start again.

1352: Haas meanwhile are not likely to be heading back out this morning, reporting that a fuel system issue is now keeping Magnussen in the garage.

1345: Oh not again. Red flag with 15 minutes to go, there is no clear issue out on track so it looks like they are going for that restart test again after yesterday’s issues.

1344: And…Latifi goes wide again at Turn 10, these new cars really do hate that corner.

1340: Sainz joins the overtaking action as he pulls a move on the Williams of Latifi. Sadly we don’t have another Hamilton-Gasly battle forming there as of yet.

1331: McLaren principal Andreas Seidl has told Auto Motor und Sport: “As things stand today, we could do a race distance, but we would have to manage the brakes. McLaren then need another step before next weekend.

1326: Latifi has another lock-up and off at Turn 10. McLaren meanwhile are saying that they are unlikely to go out again this morning thanks to the return of the brake problems.

1320: Anthony Davidson, Mercedes’ former simulator driver, has observed the W13 at Turn 8 and sees “mid-corner rotation” as its current main weakness.

1315: We are very much still in long-run mode out on the track.

1304: Mercedes are having some fun with Ferrari, following Carlos Sainz’s comments on day two that it was “typical” of George Russell and Mercedes to claim that Ferrari were the pacesetters.

1301: Right then, we are into the final hour of this morning session.

1254: Cheers Lewis. Just as we were enjoying that, he pits for a tyre change. Still, not only was it encouraging to see the cars following so well, it was also promising to see the AlphaTauri AT03 keep up with the W13.

1252: Now we are getting some action, Gasly keeps up with the Mercedes and passes Hamilton into Turn 1, but through Turns 4 and 5 Hamilton is able to get back ahead around the outside.

1251: Hamilton has had enough of that as he uses DRS to aid a pass into Turn 1, though Gasly could well have fought that harder. He does try to get Hamilton back into Turn 4 but the Mercedes driver stays ahead.

1244: Gasly overtakes Hamilton and now the Brit is sticking behind the AlphaTauri. He does not use DRS down the straight and the slipstream effect appears minimal, as Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell had suggested back in Barcelona.

1239: As the heat moves towards its blistering peak for the day, it means that the same can not be said for the lap times. It is mainly race simulations going on.

1229: McLaren are doing some further work on those front brakes in the garage. Hope we didn’t curse them by saying the issues appeared to have been fixed.

1219: Red Bull do a practice pit stop on Perez’s car – that front-left simply did not want to slot on.

1217: Hamilton is also well wide at Turn 10 with a lock-up, meanwhile Perez returns to the pits after a three-lap stint.

1210: Try as he might Latifi just can’t slow the Williams down enough there to take Turn 10 with the front-left locking. It is a quick trip into the run-off and then back to the track.

1158: Perez ups the pace considerably on the soft rubber, it is a 1:33.105 from the Red Bull driver on his 15th lap of the morning.

1157: Plenty of smoke there as Hamilton locks-up both front tyres at Turn 1.

1153: Haas have repaired a water pressure leak on Magnussen’s car and the Danish racer is now back out on the track.

1148: Norris is past 30 laps for the morning now, so thankfully, fingers crossed, their brake issues have seemingly been fixed.

1144: Hamilton’s best time so far of a 1:36.2 on the C5 tyres is some two seconds slower than his best effort from day two on that compound, so there is more to come from the Brit.

1132: Perez won’t be striking back yet, he is having a nice cruise around with the flow-vis paint splattered across the front of the sidepods.

1128: Perez takes back P1, only for Zhou to quickly snatch it back as he breaks into the 1:33s.

1121: Not the cleanest of laps on the soft rubber, but nonetheless a solid effort there from Zhou Guanyu who rises to the top of the timings, setting a 1:34.543.

1110: Stroll missed the apex there at Turn 8 by some margin, forcing him to kick-up some sand. Hamilton is out on-track again too but not on a push lap currently.

1103: Perez is back in the pits as the wheels are unbolted from the RB18 and he exits the car. Job done for now.

1054: Helmut Marko in the Red Bull garage likes that, Perez is straight to the top of the timings on the medium rubber, a 1:34.733.

1050: And here comes the upgraded RB18, as Perez had said, the changes are clear, those sidepods are far more sculpted.

1047: Sainz recovered nicely though, he is now on top, it is a 1:35.2 for the Ferrari driver.

1042: A rough ride there for Sainz, not because of porpoising, but because he took way too much kerb at Turn 3.

1039: Norris was over six-tenths up on his benchmark there with purple times in the first two sectors, but lifts off in Sector 3 to fall short.

1027: The screens remain up over at Red Bull as we await a first appearance of the day from Sergio Perez.

1021: The rear steps out on Norris at Turn 4, setting him up nicely for a trip on the outer circuit, but he corrects the MCL36 and continues. He sets a 1:35.5 on his next tour to go P1.

1015: A purple final sector for Gasly as he sets a 1:36.1 to take over P1. Hamilton meanwhile returns to the Mercedes garage.

1013: Plenty of aero testing going on, with the rakes largely centred around the rear of the challengers.

1008: That’s a 1:36.2 from Hamilton on the softs. There is of course plenty more lap time for the field to find as the day goes on.

1006: Sainz, Gasly and Norris are quick to better Magnussen’s morning effort. It is Norris on top early on a 1:36.812.

1000: The light goes green now to begin the final official day of testing, most drivers head straight out.

0951: With today being the final day of testing you can expect the sandbags to come flying off, at least for the most part as some teams may still want to conceal their true performance.

0942: Magnussen will soon have company with Hamilton, Perez, Sainz, Norris, Alonso, Gasly, Stroll, Latifi and Zhou all in action this morning. They only start at 10am.

0933: Haas have had an earlier start to the day than their rivals, Kevin Magnussen putting in the laps since 9am after Haas were granted extra hours after missing Thursday morning due to an issue with their freight arriving late. No fault of the team’s.

0930: Hello and welcome to the third and final day of F1 Testing in Bahrain. It’s absolutely flown by, hasn’t it? Just like the first two days, the morning session starts at 1000 local time and runs for four hours and the afternoon session begins at 1500 local time and runs for another four hours. Let’s do this!