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Perez fourth during morning testing on third day in Bahrain

Published on 25 February 2023 by Mike Motilall

Sergio Perez has had a very productive morning session on the third and final day of testing on the Bahrain International Circuit. The Oracle Red Bull Racing-team has had a, so far, flawless preparation for the new Formula 1-season. The Mexican driver lapped the track some 69 times during the morning session and eventually finished fourth fastest, the quickest on the medium compound C4-tyres. During the entire testing, Charles Leclerc did a 1:31.024, which was the fastest time so far, he was followed by George Russell and Felipe Drugovich. The three drivers did their times on the soft C4 and C5 tyres.

The third and also final day of testing in Bahrain, is the last chance for the teams and drivers to put their cars to the test, before the first Grand Prix-weekend will take place on the same circuit. Max Verstappen has already had a day-and-a-half of testing in the RB19, which concludes his preparation for the coming season. Today team mate Sergio Perez will put the new car through its paces.

Almost immediately after the lights turn green, Perez is out on track with large aero-racks in front of the sidepods in order to monitor the airflow. However, the Mexican loses a sensor from his rear wing, the part eventually lands on the asphalt and triggers a red flag. After a brief delay the track is cleared again. Forty five minutes into the session, new comer Oscar Piastri spins. The McLaren-driver loses the rear of the MCL60 turning in for Turns 9 and 10. No harm is done as the Aussie is able to carry on due to the wide run-off areas.

After well over an hour-and-a-half, Charles Leclerc tops the board. On the soft C4-tyre, the Ferrari-driver does a 1:31.024, by far the quickest time of the entire testing up to now. Leclerc’s time is just half a second slower than his pole-time set last year. A little less than three hours, Valtteri Bottas is forced to park his car track side due to some technical issue. The Finn has done, by then, 72 laps; the most of everyone on track. His stand still brings out the red flag once again.

With still well over an hour left on the clock, the track is cleared again. As usual during testing, the final fifteen minutes of the morning session are used to test the procedures of the Virtual Safety Car, the safety car and the red flag. During the final hour, no time is improved any further, which means that Charles Leclerc finishes the morning session on top. George Russell is in his Mercedes a little less than half a second slower and comes in second fastest. Felipe Drugovich, who stands in for Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, clocks the third fastest time. With 87 laps to his name, Nyck de Vries is the most productive driver of the morning session. The Frisian-driver clocks the tenth fastest time in his Alpha Tauri, while Sergio Perez eventually finishes fourth with 69 laps to his name.

Sergio Perez, Alexander Albon and Valtteri Bottas will be testing the entire day while the other teams will change their drivers after lunch.