Motorsport: Motor racing-Verstappen edges Leclerc in final Bahrain GP practice

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MANAMA (Reuters) – World champion Max Verstappen limbered up for the primary qualifying session of Formula One’s new period by pipping Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to the quickest time in Saturday’s final practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Dutchman hustled his Red Bull across the 5.4-km Sakhir observe in one minute 32.544 seconds, with Leclerc sizzling on his heels with a time simply 0.096 seconds slower.

Mexican Sergio Perez was two-tenths of a second off his Red Bull staff mate’s benchmark in third.

Red Bull and Ferrari have been overestimated by rivals because the favourites going into Sunday’s season-opener, which can usher in one of the vital radical guidelines overhauls in F1 historical past geared toward enhancing the racing spectacle.

Mercedes, gunning for a report ninth successive constructors’ crown, have, in comparability, struggled to squeeze the velocity from their new challenger with Lewis Hamilton warning followers to not anticipate him to be in the battle for the win on Sunday.

The seven-times champion, essentially the most profitable driver on the Bahrain observe with 5 wins, was solely sixth, half a second off his Red Bull rival’s tempo.

New staff mate George Russell was fourth 0.391 seconds off Verstappen’s greatest.

F1 returnee Kevin Magnussen, changing sacked Russian Nikita Mazepin, put the Haas staff in a promising seventh.

Former Mercedes racer Valtteri Bottas was eighth forward of Alfa Romeo staff mate and Chinese rookie Guanyu Zhou.

Canadian Lance Stroll rounded out the highest 10 in his Aston Martin.

Nico Hulkenberg, standing in at Aston Martin for Sebastian Vettel who has been sidelined by COVID-19, was twelfth.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo, again in the automobile this weekend having simply recovered from COVID, was fifteenth for McLaren.

Saturday afternoon’s hour-long session was largely incident free. Leclerc survived a spin whereas Ferrari got here below investigation for releasing Carlos Sainz into the trail of compatriot Fernando Alonso’s Alpine in the pitlane.

(Reporting by Abhishek Takle; modifying by Clare Fallon)



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