Sakhir GP: Verstappen fastest as Russell falters in Practice 3

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Max Verstappen set the pace while George Russell struggled in final practice at the Sakhir Grand Prix.

As attention focused on single-lap pace ahead of qualifying, it was Valtteri Bottas appearing in a class of his own with a healthy advantage at the front.

However, an error at the final corner on his fastest lap opened the door for Verstappen to go quickest in the Red Bull, posting a 54.064s to be two-tenths clear of the Finn.

After being the star of Friday by leading both sessions, Russell slipped back in the other Mercedes, lacking confidence in the first three corners in particular as he ended six-tenths off the pace of Verstappen in seventh.

The short, high-speed Outer Circuit also generated a very unpredictable order with an emphasis on clean and clear laps as traffic proves a major problem.

That was highlighted by Pierre Gasly in third, narrowly ahead of Esteban Ocon in fourth as AlphaTauri and Renault continue to find themselves well-suited to the unique track.

After a torrid Friday, Lando Norris was also much more competitive in fifth for McLaren, with Alex Albon sixth on the medium tyres in the second Red Bull.

Racing Point spent the session weighing up wing levels, initially trying a lower downforce setup before switching back to the medium configuration as there proved little difference between them.

Ultimately, Sergio Perez was eighth and Lance Stroll ninth, with Carlos Sainz rounding out the top 10 in the second McLaren.

Antonio Giovinazzi was an impressive 11th for Alfa Romeo.

That would put the Italian ahead of both Ferraris, as the Scuderia suffered another difficult session with Charles Leclerc 13th and Sebastian Vettel 15th.

Engine issues for the latter would also bring his practice to an early en with the team now frantically working to change his power unit before qualifying.

Daniel Ricciardo also had mechanical niggles before a very bumpy ride over the kerb at Turn 5 ruined his best lap, leaving the Australian down in 14th.

Haas and Williams once again brought up the rear, with Pietro Fittipaldi maintaining a slight advantage over Jack Aitken in the battle of the rookies at the back of the grid.

An interesting session with a close battle between Verstappen and Bottas seemingly on the cards for pole.

However, Russell, who has never been out-qualified by a teammate in F1, may still have something to say about that.

Full results from Practice 3 can be seen below.