Leclerc tops the final day of 2024 F1 Bahrain pre-season testing

Leclerc tops the final day of 2024 F1 Bahrain pre-season testing

Charles Leclerc managed to keep Ferrari at the top of the timesheets as F1 concluded Bahrain pre-season testing.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc set the time benchmark on the last day of 2024 F1 Bahrain pre-season testing, coming in slightly ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell whose desperate final lap propelled him to the top of the timesheets.

Leclerc’s fastest time, though, fell short of teammate Carlos Sainz Jr.’s fastest time over the three-day test which he set on Thursday. The Spaniard was fastest at the end of the first four hours of the morning session with a pace of 1’31.247, although it was over a second slower than his test-best time of 1’29.921 from previous day.

The scheduled lunch break was canceled for the day due to an early stoppage caused by the dislodgement of a second loose drain cover in a row, which happened after Sergio Perez ran over one on the straight to Turn 11.

This prompted F1 to give a continuous run up to 7 p.m. local time resulting to a major switchover around the grid on Friday as all bar Williams would give their drivers half a day’s racing each.

All ten teams were trying to make the best use of the remaining time with the afternoon drawing to a close and the evening promising driving conditions that would encourage faster lap times.

Verstappen took to the track just before 4 p.m. with a brand-new pair of C3 compound tyres and the world champion displaced Sainz at the top of the charts after posting a purple first and second sector.

Shortly after, Leclerc took to the track in his Ferrari fitted with a set of C4 tyres, recording the fastest lap of the day with a time of 1’30.409. Soon afterwards, the Monesgaque made a slight improvement to a 1’30.322.

Meanwhile, Hulkenberg, Tsunoda, and Zhou attempted to collect some data on their cars’ performance in traffic when they ran abreast for a few laps as the sun started to drop.

See also  Ferrari boss slams FIA for unfair Leclerc penalty

Other than the right-front wheel covering on Gasly’s Alpine falling off as he went into turn one requiring him to return to the pits for repairs, there wasn’t much more drama as teams continued to accumulate laps on the track.

Several teams started to pick up the pace in the last hour of action. Russell was sent out by Mercedes on C3 tires for a series of push-lap runs, recording a 1’30.960. After getting a set of softer C4 tires for the last 20 minutes, Russell was able to improve to a 1’30.368, which was less than 0.5 seconds behind Leclerc’s best time of the day propelling him up to second.

With fifteen minutes remaining, Zhou surged to third place on the C4 compound moments before the scheduled Safety Car procedure test began. As on Thursday, Hulkenberg, Tsunoda, Zhou, Alonso, Piastri, Leclerc, and Russell participated in a comprehensive test of the Safety Car, Virtual Safety Car, red flag, and start procedures.

The last day of testing officially ended when each driver had a chance to perform a practice start from the grid.

Leclerc was the fastest driver of the day, although his time was slower than teammate Sainz’s best performance on Thursday. Russell came in second, ahead of Zhou, while Verstappen’s best time of 1’30.755 was fourth quickest of the day, but still faster than Tsunoda’s RB.

Albon finished sixth for Williams, followed in order of finish by Piastri, Alonso, Sainz, and Perez.

2024 F1 Bahrain pre-season testing day three full time results

Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLaps
116Charles LeclercFerrariSF-241’30.32274
263George RussellMercedesW151’30.3680.04667
324Guanyu ZhouSauberC441’30.6470.32585
41Max VerstappenRed BullRB201’30.7550.43366
522Yuki TsunodaRBRB011’30.7750.45353
623Alexander AlbonWilliamsFW461’30.9840.662121
781Oscar PiastriMcLarenMCL381’31.0300.70891
814Fernando AlonsoAston MartinAMR241’31.1590.83775
955Carlos SainzFerrariSF-241’31.2470.92571
1011Sergio PerezRed BullRB201’31.4831.16153
1127Nico HulkenbergHaasVF-241’31.6861.36489
1244Lewis HamiltonMercedesW151’31.9991.67749
1318Lance StrollAston MartinAMR241’32.0381.71646
144Lando NorrisMcLarenMCL381’32.1081.78620
1510Pierre GaslyAlpineA5241’32.1491.82747
1620Kevin MagnussenHaasVF-241’33.0532.73180
1731Esteban OconAlpineA5241’33.0792.75755
1877Valtteri BottasSauberC441’33.5283.20628
193Daniel RicciardoRBRB011’37.0156.69370

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