Ferrari’s Sainz Tops Final Practice Session in Bahrain

In the final practice session before the Formula One season kick-off at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz emerged as the quickest, hinting at an intensely competitive qualifying round set for later on Friday, March 1st. The Spanish driver clocked a leading time of one minute 30.824 seconds on the 5.4-kilometer track in Sakhir’s desert, edging out Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso by 0.141 seconds, with Red Bull’s defending champion Max Verstappen trailing by 0.238 seconds in third place.

Throughout the session, the leaderboard saw frequent changes, with Verstappen, his teammate Sergio Perez, Alonso, and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton each taking a turn at the helm before Sainz delivered his swift final lap. Remarkably, the leading 14 drivers finished the session within a second of each other, showcasing the tight competition expected in the race.

Charles Leclerc, Sainz’s teammate at Ferrari, secured fourth place, followed by McLaren’s Lando Norris and Mercedes’ George Russell. Oscar Piastri of Australia took seventh place, ahead of Perez, Haas’s Nico Hulkenberg, and Lance Stroll of Aston Martin, who completed the top ten.


This practice session dispelled earlier concerns of a dominant performance by Verstappen and Red Bull, instead suggesting a potential battle for pole position involving multiple teams. This shift in expectations came after Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull led Thursday’s opening practice, with Hamilton and Russell securing a Mercedes one-two in the second session.

The Bahrain Grand Prix signals the beginning of an unprecedented 24-race season for Formula One. To accommodate the start of Ramadan, both this race and the subsequent Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah are scheduled for Saturday, allowing these Middle Eastern countries to host the events.

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Staff Report

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