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Raikkonen keeps Ferrari ahead in final practice in Bahrain

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Kimi Raikkonen confirmed Ferrari's ambitions for pole position this evening, the Finn leading the third and final practice session in Bahrain.

The Finn concluded the session 0.525s ahead of the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, while a struggling Lewis Hamilton was fourth.

Bahrain Grand Prix - Free Practice 3 results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:29.868s 15
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:30.393s + 0.525s 8
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:30.452s + 0.584s 8
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:30.691s + 0.823s 14
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:30.719s + 0.851s 8
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:30.781s + 0.913s 16
7 Nico Hülkenberg Renault 1:31.144s + 1.276s 11
8 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:31.200s + 1.332s 12
9 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:31.438s + 1.570s 18
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:31.445s + 1.577s 13
11 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:31.460s + 1.592s 18
12 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:31.513s + 1.645s 14
13 Esteban Ocon Force India 1:31.554s + 1.686s 17
14 Sergio Pérez Force India 1:31.564s + 1.696s 14
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:31.737s + 1.869s 14
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:31.859s + 1.991s 17
17 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:31.860s + 1.992s 14
18 Charles Leclerc Sauber 1:32.047s + 2.179s 19
19 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 1:32.463s + 2.595s 11
20 Lance Stroll Williams 1:32.865s + 2.997s 12

Drivers took to the Sakhir track under hot and sunny conditions for a final opportunity to tweak and refine their set-up before this evening's crucial qualifying session.

Carlos Sainz was the first driver to post a relevant time with a 1m33.893s, which in turn woke everybody else up, and especially Valtteri Bottas who immediately shaved off three seconds from the Renault driver's time

Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel was called back to the Ferrari garage for a loose deflector on the right hand side of his Ferrari.

Most drivers struggled to equal or beat their Friday times but Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley was one man did improve on yesterday's performance, in part thanks to a few updated parts on his STR13 which had not been installed at the outset.

Twenty minutes from the end of the session, both Ferrari drivers upped the pace, with Kimi Raikkonen jumping to the top of the timesheet with a 1m29.868s set on a brand new set of supersoft rubber.

In a bid to remain in contact with the Scuderia's contenders, Lewis Hamilton ran wide at the final corner but still managed to slot his Mercedes into P2, about 0.8s down on Raikkonen.

Back in the Silver Arrows garage, his crew informed him that he was losing time "mainly in the middle sector", but also that there was a "power difference" to Raikkonen, something Toto Wolff alluded to yesterday.

In the Ferrari camp, Vettel reported something "quite bad" around Turns 11 and 12 before being ordered to pit immediately, remaining in the Scuderia box for the remainder of the session.

Both Red Bull drivers moved up the order following good qualifying simulations, Verstappen placing himself P2, just ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.

The order was frozen for the final minutes of the session, Raikkonen holding his own at the front while the struggling pair of Hamilton and Vettel was left to ponder its fate two hours before this evening's thrilling qualifying session.

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