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FP3: Sainz leads Alonso and Verstappen during final practice session in Bahrain

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 01: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving (55) the Ferrari SF-24 on track during

Carlos Sainz set the pace in the third and final free practice session of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, with the Ferrari driver leading the way from Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen.

With the lights going green at 1530 local time, many drivers were happy to bide their time in their garages before hitting the track for the final hour of running before qualifying later on Friday.

PRACTICE DEBRIEF: No one expected Mercedes at the top – is the Red Bull challenge on?

Lewis Hamilton – who topped the timesheets in Thursday’s second practice – was the first to venture out onto the Bahrain International Circuit in warm but gusty conditions, running the soft tyre on his W15.

Bahrain 2024

Practice 3 results

PositionTeam NameTime
1SAI1:30.824
2ALO+0.141s
3VER+0.238s
4LEC+0.27s
5NOR+0.294s
View Full Results

Others soon started to follow, with most also opting for the soft compound while the Red Bull duo of Verstappen and Sergio Perez were interestingly the only ones to bolt on the hard tyres.

Alonso led the way after the initial laps on a 1m 31.582s, before the times started to tumble as drivers emerged for their second runs on new softs. But it was fellow Spaniard Sainz who ended the session on top with a time of 1m 30.824s, one tenth ahead of Alonso in second.

READ MORE: What the teams said - Thursday practice in Bahrain

Verstappen was third, with Charles Leclerc fourth after the Monegasque had a slight moment on his flying lap. Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri put McLaren fifth and seventh respectively, with George Russell in-between in sixth.

Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Lance Stroll rounded out the top 10. Daniel Ricciardo – who set the pace in FP1 on Thursday – was 11th, while Hamilton ultimately ended the hour down in 12th.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 01: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas

Hamilton was the first driver to hit the track in FP3, having topped the timesheets in Thursday's FP2

Yuki Tsunoda and Kevin Magnussen claimed 13th and 14th, followed by Alex Albon as the lead Williams in 15th.

The Kick Sauber pair of Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas took P16 and P17, while Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly ended a seemingly difficult session for Alpine in P18 and P20 respectively, with Logan Sargeant clinching P19 between them.

READ MORE: FP2: Hamilton fastest from Russell as Mercedes set the pace in second practice in Bahrain

The teams will now have a final opportunity to examine the data ahead of qualifying, which takes place at 1900 local time.

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