Let’s take a look at what happened during the last morning session of Formula 1 pre-season testing, where the team had the last chance before the afternoon session to see where the pace of the car is.
The third and last day was the one with the best weather conditions, and the team simply started with some aerodynamic tests.
Straight out of the box, Charles Leclerc set the fastest time of 1:30.486 with the C3 compound. His time was slightly slower than Valtteri Bottas’ one with the C5 tires yesterday. It was surely a good start for the Italian team.
Red Bull, Haas, and Alpine started to push a bit more as well but did not get much close to the Ferrari. The one who got closer was Perez with the C2 tires, 1.4 seconds behind the Monegasque. Soon after, Pierre Gasly put his AlphaTauri in P2 using the testing tires, just seven tenths behind Leclerc, showing that the AT02 has some good pace.
After one hour, Alpine also showed some good pace with Esteban Ocon who set the third fastest lap with C2 tires. However, it was still far away from P1 (1.3 seconds behind).
The drivers with most laps after 60 minutes were George Russell and Lance Stroll. The latter performed a race pace simulation during the first hour.
Later during the session, the teams focused more on the long-runs, instead of setting new fastest laps.
Perez got even closer to Charles Leclerc with the C2 tires, just four tenths behind.
Two hours into the day, Bottas was performing extremely promising long-runs. Meanwhile, Red Bul, which looked strong in the first two days, had a leak in the front part of the car which kept Perez stuck in the box. Plus, Lando Norris started to push a bit more, setting the second-fastest lap two-tenths ahead of Perez with the same compound of tires.
However, Perez closed the gap with Charles putting his Red Bull just 0.057 seconds behind him using the C3 tire.
Later on, the teams kept focusing on the race pace. However, McLaren put Lando Norris on a new set of C3 tires with which he improved his lap time, but he remained in P3.
With one hour and thirty minutes to go, it was Perez who set the fastest time of 1:30.309 using the same tires as Charles at the start of the session. Towards the end of the session, Perez fitted the C4 tires and he improved his lap again – 1:30.187.
Something interesting that happened today was a little race practice between Kimi Raikkonen and Charles Leclerc. The two completed many laps one in front of the other, really close together. What is worth underlining is that Raikkonen was able to keep Leclerc’s pace, without even using the DRS.
At the end of the session, there was a red flag practice, just like yesterday. Now the teams and the drivers can rest and go to lunch before starting the last afternoon session of the pre-season testing which will start in one hour.