- Bahrain Grand Prix - FP3
Hamilton fastest as Vettel spins in FP3Laurence Edmondson at Sakhir April 5, 2014
Lewis Hamilton took a clean sweep of the practice sessions in Bahrain as Mercedes maintained its dominance in the final hour of track running ahead of qualifying.
The two Mercedes drivers were clear of the field for the third session in a row, but impressive performances from Sergio Perez in the Force India and Valtteri Bottas in the Williams meant at least two other cars got within a second of Hamilton's best time.
However, track temperatures were higher than they will be in qualifying later in the evening, meaning the times should be treated with care as the relative performance levels may change in cooler conditions. That will provide some consolation for Sebastian Vettel who was unable to set a time on soft tyres after spinning off on the exit of Turn 2 with 20 minutes remaining. The Red Bull got out of shape as it rode over the exit kerb and pitched Vettel into a 180 degree spin. On the radio he simply said he had simply spun off.
From fifth position backwards all the drivers were over a second off Hamilton's pace. Felipe Massa and Jenson Button were split by just 0.030s as Williams continues to show improved one-lap pace this weekend. Fernando Alonso was the highest non-Mercedes-powered car in his Ferrari ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, who had a scrappy lap and Daniil Kvyat, the highest-placed Renault-powered driver.
Kimi Raikkonen rounded off the top ten as his struggles continued in the Ferrari and he ended up 1.448s off the ultimate pace. Daniel Ricciardo could only manage a lap 1.795s off Hamilton as Red Bull's concerns about performance this weekend appear to be well founded.
Laurence Edmondson is deputy editor of ESPNF1