F1 Testing 2024: Carlos Sainz tops another drain-cover-blighted session

Michelle Foster
Carlos Sainz pulls into the pits in the Ferrari SF-24.

Carlos Sainz set the pace on Friday morning in Bahrain.

Carlos Sainz picked up where he left off on Thursday as he topped the timesheet in what would’ve been the Friday morning session of Bahrain testing were it not for a loose drain cover wrecking the schedule.

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Carlos Sainz wraps up his pre-season with a P1

Heading out for what would be his final session in the Ferrari before the season officially begins next Thursday with the Bahrain Grand Prix, Sainz was quickly up to the top of the timesheet with a 1:31.247 on the C3 tyres, putting him 0.541s ahead of Sergio Perez.

But the action was once again interrupted by a loose drain cover, again at Turn 11 as happened on Thursday, and this time it was Perez who lifted it.

As the red flags came out, Red Bull began their inspections of the RB20 with the team informing PlanetF1.com that there was no damage to their floor.

After a delay of more than an hour, during which it was announced that Day Three would stay green through to the evening’s chequered flag without an official lunch break, the drivers were immediately back into the action.

In a mix of programmes that included the C1, C3 and even C5 tyre compounds being used, some drivers went for short and long runs while others, such as Daniel Ricciardo, plugged in a race distance.

Traffic, several lock-ups and even some overtakes, notably Lewis Hamilton on Kevin Magnussen, broken up the near monotony of putting in lap after lap after lap.

Sainz’s 1:31.247 stood as the time to beat with Perez closing the gap to 0.236s before his running came to a premature end with the car back in the garage and surrounded by mechanics. Red Bull did get Perez back out some 30 minutes later after a suspected set-up change.

Hamilton was third quickest, the only driver to run the C5 tyres, but finished 0.752s off the pace and only 0.04s ahead of Lance Stroll in the Aston Martin.

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Lando Norris and Valtteri Bottas also had an early lunch break, unscheduled ones, with their cars back in the garage and surrounded by screens.

Norris, who was fifth quickest, completed 20 laps while Bottas, P9, managed 28.

Ricciardo propped up the timesheet in 10th place but the RB driver focused solely on race runs on the hard Pirellis. He covered 70 laps.

F1 testing 2024: Day 3 morning times

1 Carlos SAINZ 1:31.247 61 laps
2 Sergio PEREZ +0.236 44 laps
3 Lewis HAMILTON +0.752 49 laps
4 Lance STROLL +0.791 46 laps
5 Lando NORRIS +0.861 20 laps
6 Alexander ALBON +1.336 32 laps
7 Kevin MAGNUSSEN +1.806 78 laps
8 Esteban OCON +1.832 55 laps
9 Valtteri BOTTAS +2.281 28 laps
10 Daniel RICCIARDO +5.768 70 laps

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