Motor racing-Sainz sets final practice pace for Ferrari in Bahrain


Formula One F1 - Bahrain Grand Prix - Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain - March 1, 2024 Ferrari's Carlos Sainz Jr. arrives before practice REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

SAKHIR, Bahrain (Reuters) - Spaniard Carlos Sainz went fastest for Ferrari in a close-run final practice session for Formula One's season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, setting the stage for a potentially hard-fought qualifying session later on Friday.

The 29-year-old lapped the 5.4-km Sakhir desert track in one minute 30.824 seconds, 0.141 ahead of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso with Red Bull's reigning champion and race favourite Max Verstappen 0.238 seconds off the pace in third.

The Dutchman, his Mexican team mate Sergio Perez, Alonso and Mercedes racer Lewis Hamilton all took turns at the top before Sainz pumped in his final flying lap.

The top 14 drivers were covered by less than a second.

Charles Leclerc in the other Ferrari was fourth ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and George Russell in the Mercedes.

Australian Oscar Piastri ended the session seventh in front of Perez, Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, who rounded out the top 10.

The Friday practice timesheets allayed fears of a predicted Verstappen and Red Bull walkover and raised hopes of a multi-team battle for pole, especially after RB’s Daniel Ricciardo set the pace in Thursday’s opening practice.

Hamilton led George Russell in a one-two in the second session.

The Bahrain Grand Prix marks the start of a record 24-race season for Formula One.

The race and the following round at Jeddah in Saudi Arabia a week later are being held on a Saturday to allow the Middle Eastern kingdoms to host races before the start of Ramadan.

(Reporting by Abhishek Takle, editing by Alan Baldwin and Ken Ferris)

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!
   

Next In Motorsport

Tunku Putera of Johor hoping for third podium finish in SIC
Motor racing-Wehrlein is Formula E's first repeat winner of 2024
Motor racing-Alonso extends Aston Martin contract
Motor racing-Japanese Grand Prix team by team
Motor Racing-No one is going to catch Verstappen, says Mercedes boss
Motor racing-Leclerc delighted with Ferrari strategy in Japan
Motor racing-McLaren clear on F1 pecking order after trailing Ferrari in Japan
Motor racing-Verstappen back to winning ways to lead Red Bull 1-2 in Japan
YY Pang stays in the race to help team produce talented riders
Motor Racing-McLaren's Norris eyes best chance to beat Red Bulls

Others Also Read