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Max Verstappen

Verstappen makes it a hat trick as he tops FP3

Red Bull's Max Verstappen kept up his good form as he made it three for three-topping all the practice sessions in the lead-up to the weekend's qualifying session.

Verstappen Bahrain
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To news overview © Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

Max Verstappen maintained his dominance over the field topping the FP3 session by over seven-tenths from Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

The session was slow to get underway, with the first 10 minutes seeing no action bar an installation lap by AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda. Valtteri Bottas was the first driver to set a lap time, however, after what looked like a very uncomfortable lap the Finn had his time deleted for exceeding track limits.

Bottas was followed by his teammate Lewis Hamilton who set a lap time almost a second quicker than anyone else using the hard tires. While Hamilton was at the top of the timesheets Ferrari's Charles Leclerc initiated a series of incidents as the Monegasque became the first driver to spin in the session. The Haas drivers were the next to go off as they both ran wide at the same turn in quick succession. The last driver to an incident during this period was Lando Norris who was also struggling with the grip that was available on the circuit at the time.

While Leclerc was struggling his teammate Carlos Sainz topped the timesheets with a laptime of 1.33.931 using the soft tire. The Spaniard though was quickly displaced from the top of the standings by Red Bull's Max Verstappen who set a time that was three-tenths quicker than the Ferrari driver despite using the hard tire.

After a brief lull that saw Bottas lose another lap, McLaren's Lando Norris joined the fun by going P3 on the soft tire. Haas driver Mazepin became the second driver to spin bringing out the yellow flags and ruining one of Verstappen's hot laps, with the Dutchman going purple in sector one.

It was around the 25-minute mark when the Mercedes pair went on on their second run using the soft compound tire with Bottas finally keeping it together to go P1, however, his teammate Hamilton set a blistering lap time going over five-tenths quicker than his teammate.

In the end, however, Verstappen and Red Bull would stake their claim for the upcoming qualifying session setting a time of 1.30.577 to go to the top of the time sheets by over an ominous-looking seven-tenths of a second. The Dutch driver was followed by Hamilton and the surprise of the session, Pierre Gasly who maintained AlphaTauri's good form finishing just four-tenths behind Hamilton.

Bottas, Sergio Perez and Sainz rounded out the top six.

It was another tough day at the office for the veteran pair of Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso who could only manage 14th and 15th respectively.

Stay tuned for updates on the first qualifying session of the 2021 Formula 1 season on RacingNews365.com set to start at 4 pm CET.

Result Free practice 3 - Bahrain

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