Bahrain F1 test: Sainz quickest mid-day after more disruption


Ferrari's Carlos Sainz clocked the fastest lap on the final morning of pre-season testing in Bahrain, but a recurring issue with a loose drain cover caused yet another red flag and disruption.

Sainz's 1m31.247s on C3 tyres put him comfortably ahead of Red Bull's Sergio Perez who was 0.236s adrift also on the C3 compound.

However, the session ground to a halt after just 27 minutes when a drain cover near Turn 11 - the same spot as Thursday's mishap - broke loose.

Perez seemingly triggered the issue but escaped major damage. Repairs and track checks stretched the stoppage to 1 hour and 17 minutes, forcing cancellation of the lunch break to squeeze in lost time.

The session resumed and will continue uninterrupted until 7pm local time.

Behind Sainz and Perez, Lewis Hamilton grabbed third for Mercedes with a 1m31.999s on C5 tyres. However, the Briton’s W15 consistently looked unstable out on the track.

Aston Martin's Lance Stroll claimed fourth, followed by Norris and Williams' Alex Albon. The McLaren driver managed only 20 laps in the morning session due to a suspected clutch problem.

Kevin Magnussen topped the lap count (80) for Haas, clocking in seventh ahead of Alpine's Esteban Ocon and Sauber’s Valtteri Bottas. The Finn faced limitations, completing 28 laps while his team investigated potential issues with the car's floor and rear end.

Focusing on race simulations, Daniel Ricciardo logged 70 laps for Red Bull on the hard C1 tires, resulting in a 5.7s gap to Sainz's pace.

Teams were scheduled to mark a short pause mid-day to undertake the necessary cockpit changes to accommodate their driver changes.

Pre-season testing will conclude today at 7pm local time.

Bahrain Pre-Season Test - Day 3 mid-day

1Carlos SainzFerrari1:31.247sC370
2Sergio PérezRed Bull+0.236sC353
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes+0.752sC549
4Lance StrollAston Martin+0.791sC346
5Lando NorrisMcLaren+0.861sC320
6Alexander AlbonWilliams+1.336sC335
7Kevin MagnussenHaas+1.806sC380
8Esteban OconAlpine+1.832sC355
9Valtteri BottasSauber+2.281sC328
10Daniel RicciardoRB+5.768sC170

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