There is simply no touching Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes this weekend so far in Bahrain as once again they topped the timing screens, this time at the end of the third and final Free Practice at Sakhir.
To add insult to injury, for their rivals, Nico Rosberg was once again second best and thus making it a clean sweep in practice for the Silver Arrows and it would take a brave person to bet against them repeating the feat in Qualifying.
Lewis Hamilton completed a practice hat-trick on Saturday after lapping fastest in his Mercedes in the third and final session for the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix.
The Briton, who was top in both of Friday’s sessions, completed 12 laps and was 0.115 seconds quicker than team mate Nico Rosberg as the pair finished one-two for the third practice in a row at the Sakhir desert circuit.
Hamilton, the 2008 champion, can complete another hat-trick in Qualifying for the third race of the season after taking pole position in Australia and Malaysia.
While Mercedes were again the class act in the field on a clear and hot afternoon, Red Bull’s quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel ended up 21st of 22 drivers on the timesheets after spinning off and into the gravel.
“I spun on the exit of Turn Two and the engine [switched] off immediately,” said the German, who walked back into the paddock before the session had ended.
Mexican Sergio Perez was third fastest in a Force India with Valtteri Bottas fourth for Williams, who left it late to get their cars out, ahead of Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa and McLaren’s Jenson Button.
The top six drivers were all in Mercedes-powered cars. The best of the rest was Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso who was seventh fastest.
Qualifying will be in far cooler conditions, with Sunday’s race switching to a day-to-night format under floodlights for the first time. Track temperatures in final practice were around 35 degrees celsius.
Rosberg leads Hamilton by 18 points after two races, with the Mercedes drivers on one win apiece.
Subbed by AJN.
Bahrain Grand Prix, Free Practice 3 – Saturday, 5 April 2014
|3||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1:35.868||0.544||10|
|8||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:36.455||1.131||11|
|13||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:37.119||1.795||11|
|21||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:39.225||3.901||8|