Ferrari showed significant signs of improvement on the third and final day of F1 pre-season testing in Bahrain with Carlos Sainz posting the third fastest lap.
After two tough days for the Italian team, they left a good impression on Sunday as they went through some racing and qualification simulations.
Sainz earned a ‘podium’ finish and was only be beaten by Max Verstappen and Yuki Tsunoda, with the former coming out as the big winner in Bahrain, proving to be the best on all tyre types.
Checo Perez had done well in the morning, but his lack of experience with Red Bull showed as things progressed. When the racing starts though, things could be very different.
The big shock of the weekend was rookie Tsunoda, who beat Sainz with the super soft (C5) tyres, which will not be used in the Bahrain GP. The youngster gave a performance that nobody expected.
AlphaTauri enjoyed a successful weekend as the new Honda engine seemed to work well.
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes had a weekend to forget as they finished Day 3 in fifth. Tweaks will be needed ahead of the F1 season, but the Brit cannot be ruled out, despite his spins when he started out with C5 tyres which were concerning.
After the weekend was over Hamilton admitted the Mercedes wasn’t quick enough, while teammate Valtteri Bottas also questioned the team’s decision not to run the car before the weekend in Bahrain.
Fernando Alonso posted the ninth best time and had a few doubts hanging over him, despite looking good with the C2 tyres.
Alpine also have some questions to answer as they seemed unable to get close to the frontrunners on the medium C3 and C4 tyres. Though, they may have been running the car heavy which will increase lap times.
After the three days in Bahrain, we have something of a clearer picture as to how the grid might line up in two weeks’ time. Aston Martin might be a little worried as they never managed much track time due to mechanical issues.
Red Bull will be the happiest, alongside sister team AlphaTauri, and will hope to be a real challenger for Mercedes.
The mid-pack will include the likes of McLaren, Alpine, AlphaTauri, Aston Martin and the rejuvenated Ferrari team, who are certain their new power unit no longer as issues in a straight line.
Day 3 test final lap times
1º M. Verstappen C4 Red Bull 1’28″960 64
2º Y. Tsunoda C5 AlphaTauri 1’29″053 +00″093 91
3º Carlos Sainz C4 Ferrari 1’29″611 +00″651 79
4º K. Raikkonen C5 Alfa Romeo 1’29″766 +00″806 166
5º L. Hamilton C5 Mercedes 1’30″025 +01″065 54
6º G. Russell C5 Williams 1’30″117 +01″157 158
7º D. Ricciardo C4 McLaren 1’30″144 +01″184 76
8º S. Perez C4 Red Bull 1’30″187 +01″227 49
9º Fernando Alonso C4 Alpine 1’30″318 +01″358 78
10º C. Leclerc C3 Ferrari 1’30″486 +01″526 80
11º L. Norris C3 McLaren 1’30″661 +01″701 56
12º P. Gasly C4 AlphaTauri 1’30″828 +01″868 76
13º E. Ocon C3 Alpine 1’31″310 +02″35 61
14º N. Mazepin C4 Haas 1’31″531 +02″571 67
15º M. Schumacher C3 Haas 1’32″053 +03″093 78
16º V. Bottas C2 Mercedes 1’32″406 +03″446 86
17º S. Vettel C3 Aston Martin 1’35″041 +06″081 56
18º L. Stroll C3 Aston Martin 1’36″100 +07″14 80