Max Verstappen appears ready to face Mercedes in qualifying for the Bahrain GP after impressively setting the pace in Saturday’s final practice session ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
The Red Bull star left Hamilton behind in both Friday sessions, but made his laps on soft tires in P3 with his 1:28. 355 0. 263s faster than the 2020 Drivers’ Champion and another tenth of a second ahead of Valtteri Bottas.
Verstappen, who completed two qualy simulation laps with little fuel, was also faster than both Mercedes after the opening efforts. Hamilton, meanwhile, appeared to have a steering wheel problem at the end of the hour.
Although the last practice session took place under unrepresentative conditions compared to qualifying and the race – sunshine compared to floodlights – Verstappen’s pace arouses hope for a fight for pole, with qualifying from 2 p.m. live on Sky Sports F1 takes place.
« To be two or three tenths ahead of Mercedes is a very impressive achievement by Max Verstappen, » said Karun Chandhok of Sky F1.
Mercedes was in a Red Bull sandwich, although Alex Albon, who had a serious accident on Friday and then changed his chassis, deviated a little from the pace in fourth place. 6s slower than his teammate.
McLaren and AlphaTauri led a competitive midfield, with Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris occupying positions five through eight and Racing Point completing the top 10 ahead of the Renaults.
Ferrari struggled to take part in that fight this weekend and Sebastian Vettel was their 13th. Leading car in third practice, Charles Leclerc three tenths and two places back.
Alfa Romeo and George Russell appear to be battling it out for second place as soon as the shooting starts.
© 2020 Sky UK
Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton, Grand Prix of Bahrain, Mercedes AMG Petronas F1-Team, Red Bull Racing, Max Verstappen
World news – AU – Max Verstappen meets Red Bull in Front Bahrain GP training three
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