Bahrain Grand Prix: Max Verstappen sets practice pace for Red Bull
|By Edd Straw||Saturday, April 15th 2017, 13:10 GMT|
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen set the pace in the final free practice session for Formula 1's Bahrain Grand Prix.
Verstappen left it late to put in the fastest time of 1m32.194s using super-soft Pirellis and ended the session 0.110 seconds ahead of the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.
With the track temperature at the start of the session so high, most opted to hang back for potentially slightly cooler conditions that would be closer to those for the evening qualifying session.
At the halfway mark of the 60-minute session, Toro Rosso pairing Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jr held first and second place.
Valtteri Bottas was set to knock Kvyat off top spot when he headed out on super-softs, but he locked up and ran off the circuit at the last corner, ruining his lap.
Instead, Felipe Massa put his Williams fastest with a 1m32.801s, only to be relegated to second by soft-shod Verstappen.
Romain Grosjean then lost the rear of his Haas through Turn 4, spinning into the barrier and losing his nose.
The session was red-flagged, but the delay was only five minutes as Grosjean recovered to the pits without assistance.
Shortly after the restart, Kimi Raikkonen went fastest with a 1m32.785s, despite running wide at the final corner, before being relegated to second by Bottas.
Vettel was also out on super-softs, but his first lap was only good enough for fourth after he ran wide exiting Turn 7 before setting what was then the fastest time of the session at his second attempt.
Red Bull held back for much of the session and completed few laps, but both Verstappen and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo headed out again in the closing stages.
This allowed Verstappen to go fastest with two-and-a-half minutes remaining, albeit with Hamilton behind him on track and showing strong pace.
But Hamilton ran a little wide at the final corner and could not beat Verstappen despite showing good pace in the first two sectors.
Ricciardo was 0.615s slower than Verstappen's pace, slotting into seventh place behind Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen and Massa.
Nico Hulkenberg again showed well in the Renault, lapping 0.739s off the pace to take eighth ahead of Sainz and Kvyat.
Fernando Alonso was the faster of the McLarens in 12th, 1.550s from Vettel and just six thousandths slower than Force India driver Sergio Perez, with Sauber returnee Pascal Wehrlein just behind them.
Grosjean did manage to return to the track after his crash, but ended up 18th and seven thousandths slower than team-mate Kevin Magnussen.
PRACTICE THREE TIMES:
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m32.194s||-||8|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m32.809s||0.615s||8|
|9||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m33.604s||1.410s||18|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m33.744s||1.550s||11|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m33.916s||1.722s||14|
|16||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m34.064s||1.870s||17|