FP3: Vettel pips Raikkonen in final practice


Final practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix ended with the usual 1-2 but this time it belonged to Ferrari with Sebastian Vettel 0.04s quicker than Kimi Raikkonen.

Final practice began in typical Bahrain weather with the track temperature up to 36’C.

Force India ran the early 1-2 with Sergio Perez ahead of Nico Hulkenberg but that all changed as the other Nico headed out.

Using the soft tyres Nico Rosberg jumped straight into the P1 slot with a 1:33.150. A minute later Lewis Hamilton laid down his marker and it was the exact same time.

The duo were pipped by Kimi Raikkonen, who clocked a 1:32.863. The Ferrari driver used the same softs as Mercedes to set his time.

Swapping to the super-softs in the final 15 minutes, Rosberg put in a 1:32.104 and although it appeared as if Hamilton had the speed to take him, he once again found himself P2. The reigning Champ was 0.056s slower.

But as witnessed on the earlier soft tyre runs, it was Raikkonen who had the edge over the Mercedes pairing. He was quickest in the first and second sectors, crossing the line with a 1:31.723. That was 0.381s up on Rosberg’s best.

It was soon a Ferrari 1-2 as Sebastian Vettel, showing his hand for the first time, clocked a 1:31.683 to pip his team-mate by 0.040s.

Rosberg and Hamilton were third and fourth ahead of Valtteri Bottas, who ran Williams’ old nose design, and Romain Grosjean as Haas once again showed impressive pace.

Daniil Kvyat was P7 ahead of Esteban Gutierrez, Felipe Massa with the new nose, and Daniel Ricciardo.

Stoffel Vandoorne did not have a great start to his day as he spent the first 40 minutes of FP3 in the garage due to an oil spill. He covered just 11 laps in final practice, finishing P14, just one position behind Jenson Button.

Neither Force India nor Toro Rosso ran the super-softs in FP3 leaving their drivers outside the top ten.

1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:31.683 22 laps
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:31.723 +0.040 13 laps
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:32.104 +0.421 18 laps
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:32.160 +0.477 14 laps
5 Valtteri Bottas  Williams 1:32.675 +0.992 18 laps
6 Romain Grosjean Haas F1 1:33.082 +1.399 14 laps
7 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull Racing 1:33.113 +1.430 10 laps
8 Esteban Gutierrez Haas F1 1:33.337 +1.654 14 laps
9 Felipe Massa Williams 1:33.363 +1.680 18 laps
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:33.519 +1.836 20 laps
11 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:33.569 +1.886 16 laps
12 Kevin Magnussen Renault F1 1:33.617 +1.934 9 laps
13 Jenson Button McLaren 1:33.704 +2.021 12 laps
14 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:33.744 +2.061 11 laps
15 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:33.778 +2.095 20 laps
16 Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso 1:34.003 +2.320 20 laps
17 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:34.013 +2.330 15 laps
18 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:34.128 +2.445 16 laps
19 Sergio Perez Force India 1:34.281 +2.598 15 laps
20 Jolyon Palmer Renault F1 1:34.424 +2.741 9 laps
21 Rio Haryanto Manor Racing 1:35.546 +3.863 15 laps
22 Pascal Wehrlein Manor Racing 1:35.724 +4.041 16 laps