Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton limbered up for qualifying with the fastest time in final Bahrain Grand Prix practice on Saturday.
The Mercedes driver, championship leader and winner of two of this season’s three races, lapped the Sakhir circuit on a gusty afternoon with a best time of one minute 34.599 seconds.
It was the first time this weekend that Hamilton had finished a session on top, after his German team mate Nico Rosberg went quickest on Friday.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was second fastest, just 0.069 slower, with Rosberg third on the timesheets.
Hamilton is chasing a fourth pole position in a row while Vettel can take Ferrari’s first since 2012.
Sunday’s floodlit twilight race looks like being a battle between Mercedes and Ferrari, with Kimi Raikkonen fourth quickest for the Italian team.
“There was less than 0.1s between HAM and VET at the top of the times. It’s going to be a snug, red and silver affair, we reckon,” said Mercedes on their Twitter feed.
The session was briefly red-flagged after half an hour to allow marshals to retrieve Russian Daniil Kvyat’s Red Bull from the gravel. (Reuters)