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

155Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-241’30.82418
214Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR241’30.9650.14118
31Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB201’31.0620.23816
416Charles LeclercFerrariSF-241’31.0940.27017
54Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL381’31.1180.29412
663George RussellMercedesW151’31.1900.36612
781Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL381’31.2100.38613
811Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB201’31.2480.42417
927Nico HulkenbergHaas-FerrariVF-241’31.2780.45413
1018Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR241’31.3960.57217
113Daniel RicciardoRB-Honda RBPT011’31.4490.62513
1244Lewis HamiltonMercedesW151’31.4520.62820
1322Yuki TsunodaRB-Honda RBPT011’31.6310.80714
1420Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-241’31.6710.84720
1523Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW461’31.9651.14117
1624Zhou GuanyuSauber-FerrariC441’32.0001.17617
1777Valtteri BottasSauber-FerrariC441’32.0961.27216
1831Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5241’32.1241.30011
192Logan SargeantWilliams-MercedesFW461’32.1251.30116
2010Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultA5241’32.3821.55814

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2024 Bahrain Grand Prix combined practice times

P.#DriverTeamFP1 timeFP2 timeFP3 timeGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’33.3021’30.3741’31.45267
263George RussellMercedes1’33.2511’30.5801’31.1900.20660
314Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-Mercedes1’33.1931’30.6601’30.9650.28660
455Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’33.3851’30.7691’30.8240.39569
581Oscar PiastriMcLaren-Mercedes1’33.1131’30.7841’31.2100.41065
61Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPT1’33.2381’30.8511’31.0620.47762
727Nico HulkenbergHaas-Ferrari1’37.9381’30.8841’31.2780.51063
818Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’33.8681’30.8911’31.3960.51763
916Charles LeclercFerrari1’33.2681’31.1131’31.0940.72067
1011Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPT1’33.4131’31.1151’31.2480.74167
114Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’32.9011’32.6081’31.1180.74462
1223Alexander AlbonWilliams-Mercedes1’33.5831’31.3331’31.9650.95960
133Daniel RicciardoRB-Honda RBPT1’32.8691’31.5161’31.4491.07562
1422Yuki TsunodaRB-Honda RBPT1’33.1831’31.8811’31.6311.25767
1520Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’37.4771’31.7641’31.6711.29772
162Logan SargeantWilliams-Mercedes1’34.2131’31.7151’32.1251.34162
1710Pierre GaslyAlpine-Renault1’35.1441’31.9511’32.3821.57763
1824Zhou GuanyuSauber-Ferrari1’33.9231’32.0481’32.0001.62661
1977Valtteri BottasSauber-Ferrari1’33.3541’32.0011’32.0961.62761
2031Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’34.8071’32.0271’32.1241.65357

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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.