Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024

Sainz puts Ferrari on top as half a second covers top 10 in tight final practice

Formula 1

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Carlos Sainz Jnr was the fastest driver in the final practice session before qualifying for the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Ferrari’s ascendancy to the top of the times means the trio of sessions so far have been headed by three different drivers and teams.

All 20 drivers were covered by just over 1.5s from Sainz’s best time of a 1’30.824 to Pierre Gasly’s Alpine.

Fernando Alonso was the closest to Sainz’s best time, which was set in the final ten minutes of the session. Max Verstappen was third fastest for Red Bull after setting his quickest time of the session while running behind the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, who ended the session fourth.

The McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri were split by George Russell in sixth, with Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Lance Stroll completing the top ten.

Most of the field chose to run only on the soft compound tyres throughout the final hour of running before the first qualifying of the year. Only Red Bull opted to try out the hard compound early on, with Verstappen reporting they felt “terrible”.

There was not a single yellow flag incident across the hour’s running. Esteban Ocon completed the fewest laps in his Alpine with just 11 and was heard reporting of a vibration under braking with his new A524. Nonetheless he was the quickest of the two Alpine drivers, and the only one of the pair to out-pace a rival car.

After suggesting that Red Bull had not run their power units at full power on Thursday, Verstappen and team mate Perez both featured in the top six of the speed trap rankings, with the Haas cars of Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen quickest and both Mercedes and McLarens slowest.

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2024 Bahrain Grand Prix third practice result

P. # Driver Team Model Time Gap Laps
1 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Ferrari SF-24 1’30.824 18
2 14 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR24 1’30.965 0.141 18
3 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda RBPT RB20 1’31.062 0.238 16
4 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-24 1’31.094 0.270 17
5 4 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes MCL38 1’31.118 0.294 12
6 63 George Russell Mercedes W15 1’31.190 0.366 12
7 81 Oscar Piastri McLaren-Mercedes MCL38 1’31.210 0.386 13
8 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda RBPT RB20 1’31.248 0.424 17
9 27 Nico Hulkenberg Haas-Ferrari VF-24 1’31.278 0.454 13
10 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR24 1’31.396 0.572 17
11 3 Daniel Ricciardo RB-Honda RBPT 01 1’31.449 0.625 13
12 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W15 1’31.452 0.628 20
13 22 Yuki Tsunoda RB-Honda RBPT 01 1’31.631 0.807 14
14 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari VF-24 1’31.671 0.847 20
15 23 Alexander Albon Williams-Mercedes FW46 1’31.965 1.141 17
16 24 Zhou Guanyu Sauber-Ferrari C44 1’32.000 1.176 17
17 77 Valtteri Bottas Sauber-Ferrari C44 1’32.096 1.272 16
18 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault A524 1’32.124 1.300 11
19 2 Logan Sargeant Williams-Mercedes FW46 1’32.125 1.301 16
20 10 Pierre Gasly Alpine-Renault A524 1’32.382 1.558 14

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2024 Bahrain Grand Prix combined practice times

P. # Driver Team FP1 time FP2 time FP3 time Gap Laps
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’33.302 1’30.374 1’31.452 67
2 63 George Russell Mercedes 1’33.251 1’30.580 1’31.190 0.206 60
3 14 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin-Mercedes 1’33.193 1’30.660 1’30.965 0.286 60
4 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Ferrari 1’33.385 1’30.769 1’30.824 0.395 69
5 81 Oscar Piastri McLaren-Mercedes 1’33.113 1’30.784 1’31.210 0.410 65
6 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda RBPT 1’33.238 1’30.851 1’31.062 0.477 62
7 27 Nico Hulkenberg Haas-Ferrari 1’37.938 1’30.884 1’31.278 0.510 63
8 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1’33.868 1’30.891 1’31.396 0.517 63
9 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1’33.268 1’31.113 1’31.094 0.720 67
10 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda RBPT 1’33.413 1’31.115 1’31.248 0.741 67
11 4 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1’32.901 1’32.608 1’31.118 0.744 62
12 23 Alexander Albon Williams-Mercedes 1’33.583 1’31.333 1’31.965 0.959 60
13 3 Daniel Ricciardo RB-Honda RBPT 1’32.869 1’31.516 1’31.449 1.075 62
14 22 Yuki Tsunoda RB-Honda RBPT 1’33.183 1’31.881 1’31.631 1.257 67
15 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1’37.477 1’31.764 1’31.671 1.297 72
16 2 Logan Sargeant Williams-Mercedes 1’34.213 1’31.715 1’32.125 1.341 62
17 10 Pierre Gasly Alpine-Renault 1’35.144 1’31.951 1’32.382 1.577 63
18 24 Zhou Guanyu Sauber-Ferrari 1’33.923 1’32.048 1’32.000 1.626 61
19 77 Valtteri Bottas Sauber-Ferrari 1’33.354 1’32.001 1’32.096 1.627 61
20 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1’34.807 1’32.027 1’32.124 1.653 57

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2024 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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21 comments on “Sainz puts Ferrari on top as half a second covers top 10 in tight final practice”

  1. Well at least we have F1’s top 5 drivers in the top 5 positions in Q3, which is good for the sport.

    1. I suspect Red Bull sand bagging.

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      1st March 2024, 14:25

      I guess you were looking at the combined practice results, right?

      That’s a bit cruel for the reigning champion… He’s definitely a top 5 driver.

      1. I am a Max fan. But I agree Lewis is definitely in top 5. I bet next year he will outscore Charles and put all the doubts to rest. Having said that Max would also have outscored Charles easily.

    3. nice try at slandering Lewis,.

      1. Get a dictionary and learn what slander is.
        Won’t make your mancrush a top 5 though.

  2. is there no prediction championship this year? @keithcollantine

    1. Yeah where is this? I guess time is running out to post it! Before the race at least? @keithcollantine

  3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    1st March 2024, 14:30

    So the 2 Mercedes cars posted the top times and Ferrari had equal times in P2 and P3. If the Ferraris are sand-bagging well they are both excellent at matching previous times.

    We can probably tell that Alonso is not sandbagging and would love to put his Aston Martin at the very top of these practices with as much distance between himself and the 2nd driver.

    I also suspect Perez would have disrupted the results and put himself ahead of Max if he was sandbagging or at least come up with a similar time to Max. They were both offer by a tenth and a tenth and a half today over yesterday.

    I can’t wait until tomorrow!!!

  4. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    1st March 2024, 14:32

    Looks like Merc’s pace in P2 is genuine. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow.

  5. I feel that Alpine are on a downward spiral that leads to the team being sold to Andretti.

    1. @eurobrun same… can’t see them swallowing another couple of years of a huge finantial effort to maybe become 4th fastest team again. They’ll cut their losses earlier than expected.

      1. LOL, even if you’re dead last in F1 you’re making financial profit under the cost cap regs & the current demand for the sport.
        Keep up.
        How do you guys follow the sport enough to comment, but not enough to know what’s happening?

        1. You seem to know it all yet you fail to realize it’s not a good look to come last, specially for a company as big as Renault.

          Even if they make a profit doesn’t mean it’s a successful business.

    2. Their engine sucks, and the other teams wont let them upgrade it to be competitive.

  6. Still expect RedBull to have a big buffer in race pace, but it looks extremely close between Perez,Aston,Ferrari,Mercedes and McLaren.

    Let’s see what happens this afternoon when everyone is slow fuel, full power.

  7. Maybe Red Bull turns up the engine later today and blasts everyone, but everywhere else it’s looking tight. It’s very healthy to see the field all bunched up inside a 2 second gap.

    1. It’s very healthy to see the field all bunched up inside a 2 second gap.

      Very good signs, but let’s not read too much into it just yet.It is only FP and even if the pattern repeats in qualifying, that does not necessarily guarantee a competitive season, nor do large gaps guarantee a dull season.

      At the first race in 1997, Villeneuve was a staggering 1.7 seconds faster than second-placed Frentzen Nevertheless, it turned out to be an incredibly close season, with race-by-race changes in which only Tyrell and Minardi did not reach the podium.
      On the other side of the spectrum, we have last season, which oftern featured tiny margins in qualifying, but an unprecedented rout in the championship.

      1. It’s still weird that Schumacher and Villeneuve were never on the podium together in 1997. Odd season!

        1. Indeed, they would’ve been the last race if not for the famous accident and schumacher had a technical issue in silverstone, where otherwise they also would’ve been both on the podium.

  8. Pravin Panchal
    1st March 2024, 15:29

    This year it all about driver skills because of the close grid

Comments are closed.