Bahrain GP: Verstappen beats the Mercedes in Practice 3

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Max Verstappen suggested Mercedes will have a fight on their hands as he set the pace in final practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

As teams focused on single-lap pace ahead of qualifying, the Red Bull driver would set the pace initially, three-tenths clear of Hamilton despite a problem with his DRS.

Mercedes would up the ante with Valtteri Bottas initially going almost nine-tenths faster on his second set of tyres before Hamilton went another tenth faster than his teammate.

The Dutchman though would respond going a quarter of a second ahead of the world champion at the top of the timesheet, posting a best time of 1m28.355s.

Alex Albon recovered from his Practice 2 accident to secure fourth, 0.66s off the pace but half a second clear of the midfield pack.

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That would be led by McLaren with Carlos Sainz fifth and Lando Norris seventh, while Pierre Gasly showed Istanbul was a blip by putting his AlphaTauri in sixth.

Daniil Kvyat backed up the sister Red Bull team's pace in seventh, just in front of the two Racing Points, as Lance Stroll led teammate Sergio Perez by just 0.012s.

The two Renaults are also firmly in the midfield fight despite just missing out on the top 10 in P11 and P12.

From having the fastest car in Bahrain last year, Ferrari find themselves 1.5s off the pace this year as Sebastian Vettel sat 13th, three-tenths faster than Charles Leclerc in 15th.

Antonio Giovinazzi split the two Prancing Horse's in 14th, with George Russell in contention for another Q2 appearance in 16th.

The two Haas cars followed in 17th and 18th, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Nicholas Latifi rounded out the order in the second Williams.

Of course, with the final practice session taking place in the day, conditions were different to what drivers will face under the lights in qualifying.

However, after seeing their 100% pole record in 2020 ended in Turkey, Mercedes do appear slightly on the back foot again in Bahrain.

Full results from Practice 3 can be seen below: