Max Verstappen rallied following a tough Friday to lead the final Formula 1 practice session ahead of qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday morning.
Verstappen lost running on Friday after hitting debris on-track, but responded with an impressive qualifying simulation late on that saw him post a best lap of 1:32.194.
The time was enough to give Verstappen top spot by one-tenth of a second ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finishing a further four-tenths adrift in P3.
The unrepresentative conditions in FP3 – the session is held much earlier in the day than qualifying or the race – prompted many to limit their running, with a flurry of late qualifying laps injecting some life into final practice.
Valtteri Bottas was able to rise up to fourth for Mercedes, 0.004 seconds shy of Vettel, edging clear of fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen, who was fifth in the second Ferrari.
Felipe Massa finished sixth for Williams ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who was caught out by a high tail-wind on a lap, while Nico Hulkenberg was eighth for Renault. Toro Rosso rounded out the top 10 with Carlos Sainz Jr. and Daniil Kvyat.
The session largely went by without incident, the only stoppage coming after a crash for Romain Grosjean at the exit of Turn 4 that sparked a short red flag period.
Qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix is live on the NBC Sports app and via live stream from 11am ET, before being shown tape-delayed at 12:30pm ET on NBCSN.