Red Bull’s Dutch driver Max Verstappen drives during the third practice session on the eve of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 28, 2020. (Photo by HAMAD I MOHAMMED / POOL / bioreports)
Max Verstappen topped the times ahead of Lewis Hamilton in Saturday morning’s third and final practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver clocked a best lap of one minute and 28 355 seconds in the closing minutes to outpace Mercedes’ newly-crowned seven-time champion by 0.263 seconds.
Valtteri Bottas, in the second ‘black arrow’, was third behind his team-mate.
Hamilton attempted to respond in the final seconds of the session, but pulled up at the end of the pit lane before joining the fray as a red light signalled it was over.
It was unclear if Hamilton had a car problem – likely to be an electronic sensor issue – or had missed his chance before the light came on, but he was clearly disappointed at failing to complete a clean sweep after topping both sessions on Friday.
Alex Albon, Red Bull’s London-born Thai driver, was an encouraging fourth after recovering from his big crash in second practice and driving in a new chassis, built up overnight by his crew.
Albon showed no evidence of problems following the blow to his confidence as he sought to hang on to his drive with the team for next year.
Carlos Sainz, the Ferrari-bound McLaren driver, was fifth ahead of Pierre Gasly of Alpha Tauri and Lando Norris, in the second McLaren.
Daniil Kvyat was eighth in the second Alpha Tauri ahead of the two Racing Point cars driven by Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez.
Both Ferrari men failed to make the top ten, Sebastian Vettel finishing 13th and Charles Leclerc 15th.
Vettel had earlier supported Hamilton in his strong criticism of Pirelli’s prototype tyres for 2021, saying he hoped that “we don’t see these tyres again.”
He explained: “They weren’t a step forward — probably worth a shot, but I hope we don’t see these tyres again. They are quite a lot worse compared to the tyres that we currently run.”