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Charles Leclerc tops Formula 1 pre-season testing followed by George Russell

In the final stretch of pre-season testing, Charles Leclerc showcased Ferrari's potential by topping the timesheets with a blistering lap of 1:30.322 in Bahrain.

Hot on his heels was Mercedes' rising star, George Russell, who trailed Leclerc by a mere 0.046 seconds, demonstrating the intense competition expected in the upcoming races.

Both Leclerc and Russell showcased their speed on the C4 compound tires, emphasizing their teams' tire management strategies and performance capabilities.

Adding to the mix, Zhou Guanyu impressed by securing the third spot for the newly rebranded Stake F1 team, hinting at a promising debut for the outfit.

However, the day wasn't without its challenges. A loose drain cover disrupted proceedings for the second consecutive day, prompting adjustments to the schedule to ensure uninterrupted track time until late into the evening.

While most teams navigated the day smoothly, Pierre Gasly faced a setback as his car's inside wheel arch came loose, necessitating a late pit stop.

Reigning World Champion Max Verstappen maintained a solid presence, securing the fourth fastest time for Red Bull, closely followed by RB's Yuki Tsunoda.

Williams' Alex Albon stood out as the sole driver to complete the entire day's testing, logging an impressive 121 laps, showcasing both his and the team's endurance and reliability.

Meanwhile, attention turned to young talents like Oscar Piastri and seasoned veteran Fernando Alonso, both securing respectable positions in the standings.

As the teams wrap up testing, all eyes are now set on the opening race in Bahrain next week, promising an exhilarating start to the 2024 Formula 1 season.

F1 Testing: Day 3 leaderboard

1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:30.322 74 laps
2 George Russell Mercedes +0.046 67 laps
3 Guanyu Zhou Kick Sauber +0.325 85 laps
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing +0.433 66 laps
5 Yuki Tsunoda RB +0.453 53 laps
6 Alexander Albon Williams +0.662 121 laps
7 Oscar Piastri McLaren +0.708 91 laps
8 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +0.837 75 laps
9 Carlos Sainz Ferrari +0.925 71 laps
10 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing +1.161 53 laps
11 Nico Hulkenberg Haas F1 Team +1.364 89 laps
12 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +1.677 49 laps
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin +1.716 46 laps
14 Lando Norris McLaren +1.786 20 laps
15 Pierre Gasly Alpine +1.827 47 laps
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team +2.731 80 laps
17 Esteban Ocon Alpine +2.757 55 laps
18 Valtteri Bottas Kick Sauber +3.206 28 laps
19 Daniel Ricciardo RB +6.693 70 laps

Read More: Ranking five drivers who could replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes (planetsport.com)

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