Perez takes top spot for Red Bull on Sunday morning

Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB16B. 14.03.2021.
© XPB 

Red Bull's new signing Sergio Perez topped the timesheets at the end of the Sunday morning session on the final day of pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Perez best time was 1:30.187s, with Charles Leclerc second quickest and McLaren's Lando Norris rounding out the top three.

The only other driver to dip below the 91-second mark so far today was AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly. Alpine's Estaban Ocon was fifth fastest ahead of Mick Schumacher, Valtteri Bottas, George Russell, Kimi Raikkonen and Lance Stroll.

Bahrain Pre-Season Test - Day 3 - Morning

1Sergio PérezRed Bull1:30.187C449
2Charles LeclercFerrari+0.299C380
3Lando NorrisMcLaren+0.474C356
4Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri+0.641C476
5Esteban OconAlpine+1.123C361
6Mick SchumacherHaas+1.866C378
7Valtteri BottasMercedes+2.219C286
8George RussellWilliams+2.544C277
9Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo+5.087C291
10Lance StrollAston Martin+5.913C380
11Daniel RicciardoMcLaren---
12Sebastian VettelAston Martin---
13Nikita MazepinHaas---
14Fernando AlonsoAlpine---
15Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri---
16Max VerstappenRed Bull---
17Lewis HamiltonMercedes---
18Carlos SainzFerrari---

The morning session had been kicked off by Kimi Raikkonen, whose Alfa Romeo came out on track bedecked with an impressive plumage of aero-rakes. He was soon joined on track by Perez, Leclerc and Ocon, with George Russell also wasting no time getting his hands on the Williams FW43B for the first time.

Leclerc set the initial benchmark with a time of 1:32.959s.but this was soon bettered by Haas rookie Mick Schumacher posting a time of 1:32.803s. Leclerc responded by cutting more than two seconds off the top time with his next run to put Ferrari back on top just 20 minutes into the session.

After that the session continued largely without incident, although Russell took to the run-off as the result of a touch of oversteer at turn four just after the hour and a half mark, but with no lasting ill-effects.

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Alfa Romeo Racing C41 running sensor equipment.

Leclerc's time stood at the top of the timesheets until Perez put Red Bull at the top with a confident lap of !:30.309s just over halfway through the session. He subsequently improved on this, and by the end of the session he was a tenth quicker than the fastest lap set yesterday by Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas.

The Finn was himself enjoying a trouble-free run with a solid tally of 86 completed laps. Aston Martin were also having a better run after yesterday's gearbox issue with Stroll completing 80 laps, while Raikkonen notched up the most distance of anyone with 91 laps using the latest Ferrari engine upgrade.

The session ended five minutes early with a red flag in order for race officials to test systems and to allow teams to carry out practice starts before the lunch break.

Testing resumes at 12 noon GMT for the final four-hour session.

Daniel Ricciardo will take over from Lando Norris at McLaren, and Sebastian Vettel will be installed in the Ferrari. Also getting their chance at the wheel will be Nikita Mazepin, Fernando Alonso, Yuki Tsunoda, Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton.

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