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Verstappen lays down a marker in updated Red Bull

Max Verstappen has smashed the previous best time of pre-season testing in Bahrain, with Red Bull ramping up the pace on the final afternoon.

Max Verstappen has posted the fastest time of pre-season testing in Bahrain, after a performance-focused run from Red Bull midway through the final afternoon. With Sergio Perez having set the pace during the morning session as Red Bull introduced upgrades on their RB18, Verstappen headed out on track with a set of Medium C3 tyres. Going fastest in all three sectors, Verstappen set a 1:32.645 to set a new benchmark time for the pre-season test as he went 0.460 seconds quicker than Perez's best. Sebastian Vettel set a 1:33.8 on the Soft C4 tyre to move into third, improving upon his 1:34.0 on the Medium C3, as Aston Martin also appeared to start working on some performance runs.

A subdued Mercedes remain away from the front

With Lewis Hamilton admitting over the lunchtime press conferences that Mercedes won't be fighting for wins at the start of the season, the W13 continued to show a comparative lack of pace during the afternoon. George Russell took over the car from Hamilton at the break and moved up to sixth place just before the halfway point of the afternoon session. His best time, a 1:34.223, was set on the Soft C4 compound – some 1.5 seconds away from Verstappen's time on the C3. Hamilton's time from the morning keeps him in 16th place, just ahead of Haas' Kevin Magnussen and former teammate Valtteri Bottas in the Alfa Romeo. You can stay up to date with all the action from Bahrain in the dedicated RacingNews365.com live blog .

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