F1 2021 Testing Day 3: Tsunoda stars as Verstappen tops the times

Formula 1’s rapid-fire pre-season testing for 2021 has concluded today. Three days of running at the Bahrain International Circuit has ended with a familiar name as fastest of the weekend.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen would top the times, but it was F1 rookie Yuki Tsunoda that lit up the timing boards for most of the evening.

There was plenty of other action to sink our teeth into though, so who else impressed and who flattered to deceive?

Morning Session

The final day of Formula 1’s 2021 pre-season testing got underway as the sport paid tribute to a legend we lost yesterday. Murray Walker sadly passed away yesterday at the age of 97 and will be remembered forever as the voice of motorsport and a universally loved character.

Formula 1 paid tribute to its greatest ever commentator today. Image: F1

As this is the final day of testing ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, the teams were eager to get as many miles on the clock as possible. This was evident in the distinct lack of red flags or on-track incidents, as all four hours passed under green flags.

Sergio Perez was fastest in his Red Bull RB16B, but it was Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo C41 which accumulated the most miles. 91 laps were completed by the oldest man on the grid, almost two race distances.

Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari, Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes and Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin all also clocked 80+ laps in the morning.


Afternoon Session

Mid-way through the afternoon session, F1’s youngest driver, Yuki Tsunoda showed his lack of experience. The Japanese driver spun his AlphaTauri around in the middle sector.

F1’s youngest driver was showing his raw talent in the AlphaTauri. Image: F1

The final few hours of testing would see a flurry of rapid lap times. Max Verstappen, Tsunoda, Raikkonen and then Tsunoda again set the fastest times of the weekend. A 1:29.282 showed that AlphaTauri and Honda aren’t doing half-measures this season.

Verstappen would have the last laugh though, as his 1:28.960 would stay the fastest of the weekend.

Mercedes’ troubled testing would continue though, as Sir Lewis Hamilton spun while attempting to beat Verstappen’s PB. The final incident of the session was a close call between Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari and Raikkonen, as they almost collided.

Who were the winners from Day 3?

Red Bull’s pace was definitely encouraging and they were one of the stars of testing throughout the three days. The unexpected blistering pace of both Yuki Tsunoda and Kimi Raikkonen though has to put them both with a shout of driver of the day.

Verstappen was one of the stars of Sunday’s running. Image: F1

Also clocking over 150 laps was Williams’ George Russell.

Many teams chose to swap drivers during the lunch break, AlphaTauri and Ferrari managing over 150 laps between their pairings on Sunday.

Who were the losers from Day 3?

It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon, but Mercedes have been lacklustre during most of testing. This is especially true of Hamilton, who has run wide or spun his W12 on a number of occasions, including today.

The seven-time world champion has struggled to get to grips with his new car and the pace and consistency of Red Bull is a definite cause for concern. To add insult to injury for the Black Arrows, they fell short of par when it came to mileage again today.

Sir Lewis Hamilton was not Mercedes’ knight in shining armour throughout testing. Image: F1

Full classification

Credit: Formula 1

Grid Talk Podcast

Want more content to preview the F1 2021 season?

Steph Wentworth hosted panellists Owain Medford, Steve Jackson and YouTuber Lucas Raycevik in Grid Talk’s review of the F1 2021 Car reveals:

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