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Leclerc ends Day 3 of pre-season testing on top as the action concludes in Bahrain

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 23: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari SF-24 on track

Charles Leclerc topped the timesheets as the third and final day of pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit drew to a close.

The Ferrari driver clocked a lap of 1m 30.322s on the C5 Pirelli tyres, putting him four hundredths of a second clear of George Russell in P2 at the end of a day that followed a slightly different format to the previous days of running in Bahrain.

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With the red flags being flown just half an hour into Friday morning due to Sergio Perez running across a drain area on the circuit – prompting the marshals to carry out track repairs – it was announced that, upon resumption, the session would continue through to the end of the day without a break for lunch.

When the action got back underway at 1145 local time, the cars returned to the track as they looked to complete their programmes, with plenty of work to fit in before the day was set to draw to a close at 1900 local time.

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Most of the teams also had to factor in switching drivers during the session – barring Williams, who had opted to run Alex Albon for the full day.

As the day wore on, temperatures started to drop and track conditions became more representative of those we will see in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, which takes place after sunset.

WATCH: What we learned on the second day of pre-season testing in Bahrain

Despite that, it was Leclerc who managed to hold on to the top spot with his time from earlier in the session, leading from Russell and Zhou Guanyu. All three drivers were amongst those out on the circuit as the track became quicker in the closing stages.

Max Verstappen ended the day in fourth. Having taken over from Perez earlier in the day, the Dutchman put himself at the top of the timesheets after only his first few laps before completing a total of 66 throughout the session.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 23: Yuki Tsunoda of Japan driving the (22) Visa Cash App RB VCARB 01 on

Tsunoda put himself towards the top of the timesheets, continuing RB's encouraging start to the year

RB’s Yuki Tsunoda claimed fifth place, with the Japanese driver bringing his team’s encouraging performance in testing to a positive end. Team mate Daniel Ricciardo earlier racked up 70 laps after completing a race simulation.

Albon, being the only driver to have the car to himself for the day, completed more mileage than anybody else with a tally of 121 laps. The Williams man ended Friday in P6 on the timesheets.

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Oscar Piastri took seventh place. McLaren were forced to curtail their morning running with Norris due to a clutch issue, resulting in them carrying out their driver swap a little earlier than some.

Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz and Perez rounded out the top 10 as the final day of testing came to an end. The teams will now set to examining the data ahead of the season kicking off in less than one week’s time, with the Bahrain Grand Prix taking place from February 29-March 2.

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