Max Verstappen set the fastest time on Saturday in the third and final free practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Red Bull Racing driver was ahead of both Mercedes.

Verstappen came in the final phase on the soft tire to 1.28.355.

At the same compound, Lewis Hamilton (1.28.618) and Valtteri Bottas (1.28.721) were the only other drivers to go below 1.29.

Earlier in practice, Verstappen had also recorded the fastest time, although he did that with a rickety rear wing.

The wing started flapping the moment he used DRS.

The problem was resolved, although the technicians continued to work on it until the end of the practice session.

The fastest time is a boost for Verstappen, although the results of the final training say relatively little.

The conditions are different from qualifying and the race, which are run under artificial light and at considerably lower temperatures.

In contrast to the first two practice sessions, the drivers did not test with the tires that manufacturer Pirelli has developed for next year.

There is considerable criticism of those new tires.

Qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix starts on Saturday at 3 p.m.

The race starts on Sunday at 3.10 p.m.

Top 10 third training Bahrain

  • 1. Max Verstappen - 1,28,355

  • 2. Lewis Hamilton - 1,286,618

  • 3. Valtteri Bottas - 1,28,721

  • 4. Alexander Albon - 1,29,018

  • Carlos Sainz - 1.29,455

  • 6. Pierre Gasly - 1,29,472

  • 7. Lando Norris - 1,29,567

  • 8. Daniil Kvyat - 1,29,585

  • 9. Lance Stroll - 1,29,660

  • 10. Sergio Pérez - 1,29,672

See also: Five questions about Bahrain GP: 'Verstappen only has a chance for the first weekend'