Day three of the final pre-season test in Bahrain as it happened

Text commentary of the penultimate day of the final pre-season test in Bahrain, where Red Bull continue to struggle.

1 March 2014 Last updated at 06:22

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As it happened

  1. 15:00: 

    Right then, folks. It's time for me to depart. Thanks for your company and contributions as always. I'll be back at 06:15 GMT tomorrow for the final day of pre-season testing before the Formula 1 fraternity head to Australia for the season opener. Until then, it's good afternoon from me. Bye!

  2. 14:55: 

    The Williams looks quick and reliable after another trouble-free day, while Mercedes made up for lost time in the morning, following an engine change, to clock up 103 laps - their highest total of the week. Caterham, Toro Rosso, Ferrari, McLaren and Marussia had solid days, too. Lotus, though, ended their day early again after stopping out on track. They completed just 33 laps. Read all about it in Andrew Benson's report.

  3. 14:50: 
    Sebastian Vettel

    But it wasn't a total waste of a day for reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel. The lack of running meant he had plenty of time to have his pre-season photos done.

  4. 14:45: 

    So Red Bull endured their worst day of pre-season testing in 2014 as the team failed to clock up a single lap of running. The world champions said they had a battery problem in the morning and once that was fixed, they discovered another issue, which they refused to reveal.

  5. 14:40: 
    Laps completed on day three

    1) Felipe Massa (Williams) 99

    2) Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 103

    3) Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 87

    4) Kevin Magnussen (McLaren) 88

    5) Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) 81

    6) Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) 115

    7) Jules Bianchi (Marussia) 78

    8) Marcus Ericsson (Caterham) 117

    9) Romain Grosjean (Lotus) 33

    10) Adrian Sutil (Sauber) 1

    11) Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 0

  6. 14:35: 
    How they finished on day three

    1) Felipe Massa (Williams) 1:33.258

    2) Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:33.484

    3) Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 1:35.426

    4) Kevin Magnussen (McLaren) 1:35.894

    5) Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) 1:36.113

    6) Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) 1:36.205

    7) Jules Bianchi (Marussia) 1:37.087

    8) Marcus Ericsson (Caterham) 1:38.083

    9) Romain Grosjean (Lotus, 1:42.166

    10) Adrian Sutil (Sauber) No time

    11) Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) No time

  7. 14:30: 
    Felipe Massa

    Williams' Felipe Massa finishes fastest on day three of the final pre-season test in Bahrain.


    Marussia: So we end day three P7/11 on the timesheet. A 1:37.087 is our best time. 78 laps. Good work team.

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    Sam: Wow this is proper exciting stuff! Had no idea the Williams was this quick! Definitely watch out for them in Aus, Massa for the win?

  10. 14:24: 

    Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen pops into third with a 1:35.487, but that's still 2.2 seconds off the pace set by Williams' Felipe Massa.

  11. 14:19: 

    Felipe Massa comes fighting back with a stunning lap of his own, the Williams driver clocking a 1:33.258 to go 0.2 seconds clear at the top. That's the quickest lap we've seen in Bahrain this year.

  12. 14:17: 

    Nico Rosberg pulls out a lap of the very top drawer to go fastest. The Mercedes driver clocks a 1:33.484 on what looks like a qualifying simulation run.

  13. 14:15: 

    Marcus Ericsson clocks Caterham's best lap of the week with a 1:39.283 but the Swede stays in eighth place, one second behind Marussia's Jules Bianchi and 4.8 seconds off the ultimate pace.

  14. 14:10: 

    With 20 minutes remaining, Force India's Nico Hulkenberg heads out on track for one more run. The German is currently fifth fastest, with more than 100 laps under his belt.

  15. 14:00: 

    Marussia's Jules Bianchi goes seventh fastest with a 1:38.218, leapfrogging rivals Caterham.

    Red Bull

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "With 40 minutes of the session remaining, here's what's going on down at Red Bull. Tomorrow's final day of testing in Bahrain could not be more important for the team."


    Caterham: That's 100 laps so far today for @Ericsson_Marcus, including a race sim and multiple short runs to try setup options. Still 40 minutes left.

  18. 13:50: 

    Nico Rosberg pops up into second in the Mercedes, but he's still 1.4 seconds off the impressive pace set by Williams' Felipe Massa.

  19. 13:44: 
    Felipe Massa

    Daniil Kvyat's time at the top doesn't last long as Williams' Felipe Massa smashes the Toro Rosso team's time with a 1:34.450. That's the quickest lap we've seen this week.

  20. 13:38: 

    It's all change at the top of the charts as Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat clocks a 1:36.113, 0.059 seconds quicker than McLaren's Kevin Magnussen.


    Ed Bartlett: The burning question is - will ANYONE finish full race distance in Australia?


    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "So that's it for Sebastian Vettel: just four corners of one lap on day three of this Bahrain test. Red Bull have confirmed that he won't run again today, making this the worst day of the winter for the world champions in terms of mileage.

    "A battery problem stopped Vettel this morning and as the team fired up the RB10 to send him out again at 3pm local time, they discovered another problem. They wouldn't confirm what this secondary problem was, only that it will prevent any further running today. That points to an issue either within the power unit or the gearbox."

  23. 13:31: 

    With an hour left of today's session, I've got some news regarding Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel - and it's not of the good variety...

  24. 13:30: 

    Kimi Raikkonen is ploughing on with his race simulation in the Ferrari and only has Caterham's Marcus Ericsson for company out on track.

  25. 13:24: 

    Here's the video interview with team boss Christian Horner on Red Bull's problems. It also features footage of the team going to extraordinary lengths to hide the car when it arrives back in the pit lane.

    Jean-Eric Vergne

    Toro Rosso: While @dany_kvat is busy driving the car, @JeanEricVergne smiles for the camera.

  27. 13:19: 

    Force India's Nico Hulkenberg goes second quickest, just 0.033 seconds slower than McLaren's Kevin Magnussen. Nico Rosberg is third, one tenth off the pace with Kimi Raikkonen fourth.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "It has kind of gone under the radar because of Red Bull's continuing problems, but Lotus are arguably in even worse shape. After missing the first test in Jerez, they did not have a great time in Bahrain last week, although the word was they were happy with the car. But they are continuing to have problems this week, and now their running for the day is finished after just 30-odd laps. Lotus are at the very bottom of the mileage charts this winter - below even Marussia and Red Bull. What condition will they be in come Australia?"

  29. 13:13: 

    As we approach the chequered flag, here's a recap of the day so far. Red Bull and Sauber have yet to set a time, with Sebastian Vettel twice breaking down after leaving the garage. Kevin Magnussen sets the pace in the McLaren, with a best time of 1:36.172 from his 59 laps.

    The Force India of Nico Hulkenberg has completed the most laps at 98, with Caterham's Marcus Ericsson next up on 90. Mercedes' morning was delayed following an engine change, but Nico Rosberg has since completed 76 laps.

    It's not going so well for Lotus who did very little running in the morning and, after completing 33 laps, have suggested their day may be over.

  30. 13:08: 

    Mercedes' Nico Rosberg goes second with a 1:36.293, one tenth off the pace set by McLaren's Kevin Magnussen.

  31. 13:05: 

    Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen completes his first stint, pits for new boots and then heads back out again.


    Lotus: We've stopped running. We're investigating. Looks like an early bath for @RGrosjean today. Maybe to join Seb #Vettel in the pool...

  33. 13:00: 

    It looks like Lotus could be ending the day early again...

  34. 12:48: 

    Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen is 10 laps into his race simulation now and is lapping in the 1m43s-1m44s. That's seven to eight seconds off the leading pace set today.

  35. 12:42: 

    Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat gets down into the 1m37s to bump himself up into fourth in the timesheets, 1.4 seconds off the pace.

  36. 12:40: 

    Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg, Daniil Kvyat and Marcus Ericsson are all out and about.

    Niki Lauda and Keke Rosberg

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "Two legends of the sport - Niki Lauda and Keke Rosberg - check out the times in the Mercedes motorhome. Or are they simply discussing old times?"

  38. 12:35: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    And we're go, go, go again in testing!

  39. 12:33: 

    Kevin Magnussen is still fastest in the McLaren, with Kimi Raikkonen second and Felipe Massa third. The standings are unlikely to change much as most teams are focusing on long runs to prepare for the opening races of the season.

  40. 12:28: 

    The Lotus is back in the pit lane, so it shouldn't be long until the session is back under way. Just over two hours remaining before the chequered flag falls.

    Marussia staff

    Max Chilton: As I am not in the car today I had an important task which is regularly forgotten. Making a brew for the mechanics.

  42. 12:23: 

    The day wouldn't be complete without a Lotus stopping out on track, would it? Romain Grosjean has stopped in sector two.

  43. 12:20: 

    We've got our third red flag of the day - and it can't be Sebastian Vettel as he's in his civvies with his Red Bull being worked on in the garage...

  44. 12:15: 

    Kimi Raikkonen's race simulation has been delayed as the 2007 world champion is back in the Ferrari garage after just a few laps.

  45. 12:10: 

    Earlier, I mentioned that Red Bull boss Christian Horner said he did not know how long it will take to solve the reliability issues that they have encountered this season. Well here's the full story.

  46. 12:05: 

    Kimi Raikkonen has headed out on track. It looks like Ferrari are about to start their race simulation.

  47. 12:03: 
    Kevin Magnussen

    Lots of long runs going on out on track right now involving the likes of McLaren (pictured) and Force India.

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    Ian McCormack: Ask Bernie if we can have triple points in first three races. The other teams could possibly get a head start before RBR come good!

    Sam Longden: I don't know why they're still bothering with double points. F1 already looks more interesting this season with Red Bull struggling.

    Anne Sharman: Should I be this amused by the fact that the RB10 broke down twice this morning in pre-season testing? Probably not. Am I? Yes.

  49. 11:53: 

    Ferrari say they have fitted the latest updates to the car and fixed "an annoying problem with a connector which involved some dismantling before the car was ready".

    Kimi Raikkonen, with team principal Stefano Domenicali watching on, will attempt a 60-lap run this afternoon to give all the new parts a good runout.

  50. 11:48: 

    Marcus Ericsson has completed the most laps today, the Swede clocking up 75 in the Caterham. Force India's Nico Hulkenberg is next best on 72, with Felipe Massa managing 66. Red Bull and Sauber have failed to complete a lap, while Lotus and Romain Grosjean are up to 28.


    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "The re-introduction of GPS this year is proving very useful for the teams. Every car is fitted with a transponder, which allows the teams to monitor the pace of their rivals.

    "It's even possible for them to produce an overlay of another car's fastest lap and work out where it's faster or slower relative to theirs. Perhaps now, as we start to see some low-fuel runs this afternoon, this will take on even more significance."

  52. 11:38: 

    Ferrari report that Kimi Raikkonen is preparing for a race simulation. The Finn is currently second fastest, eight tenths off the pace.


    Force India: 20 laps in the first stint, a quick stop in the pits and off on a new run for @NicoHulkenberg, who has clocked 67 laps so far.

  54. 11:29: 

    Time for a recap, with a little over three hours remaining. Red Bull broke down twice this morning and have failed to complete a single lap today. Sebastian Vettel will not be out before 13:00 GMT.

    Mercedes were delayed after an engine change, but Nico Rosberg is now making up for lost time. Ferrari are back out, too, after spending most of the morning in the garage.

    Williams, Force India, Caterham and Marussia have completed good mileage. Sauber have not. Adrian Sutil yet to set a lap time following a fire on his installation lap.


    Mercedes: Ambient / track temps currently at 27 / 35 degrees respectively; bit of a breeze to the north, clear blue skies above.

  56. 11:23: 

    How long will it take Red Bull to solve the reliability problems that have blighted their pre-season? Team boss Christian Horner doesn't know.

    "I'm very confident we'll overcome the issues; the question is when and how quickly," said Horner, adding the team were "on the back foot" ahead of the first race of the season in Australia on 16 March.

    "We're trying to go to Melbourne in as good a shape as we can, but we've probably covered only about a third of the mileage of some of the other teams."

  57. 11:17: 
    Kimi Raikkonen

    The afternoon session is proving more successful for Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari on track as the Finn pops in the second quickest time of the day, eight tenths shy of Kevin Magnussen's leading time.


    Caterham: Final adjustments being made to more new parts from the factory which are going on the car now, then it'll be time to start running again.

  59. 11:07: 

    Kevin Magnussen, on a low-fuel run, goes quickest with a 1:36.172, one second quicker than Felipe Massa in second.

  60. 11:04: 

    Kimi Raikkonen is up to fifth, nine tenths off the pace set by Felipe Massa in the Williams.

  61. 11:00: 

    I'm told Kevin Magnussen is about to do some low-fuel running in the McLaren before turning his attention to a race simulation later in the day.

  62. 10:56: 

    Tom Clarkson, our man on the ground in Bahrain, informs me that Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel will not going out before 13:00 GMT. If they make it out then, the reigning world champions will only get a maximum of 90 minutes running.

  63. 10:52: 

    Force India say they will be focusing on long runs with Nico Hulkenberg for the remainder of today's session.


    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "Just spoken to Sauber to ask about their progress with the engine change. 'We're pushing hard, but we can't say when we'll get out again,' was the response. It let go at 06:20 GMT, so our guess is that Adrian Sutil will be back on-track mid-afternoon because it takes up to six hours to change these ultra-complex power units."

  65. 10:45: 

    We've got a change near the top of the timesheets as McLaren's Kevin Magnussen slots into second with a 1:37.668, 0.44 seconds off the pace.

  66. 10:40: 

    Kimi Raikkonen sets his best lap of the day, shaving nearly a second off, but he stays sixth. Romain Grosjean goes quicker than he has been in the Lotus, but he too fails to move up the charts, and remains ninth.

  67. 10:36: 

    Nico Rosberg is keen - the Mercedes driver heads straight out on track to make up for lost time this morning. Kimi Raikkonen, who has spent most of the morning in the garage, is also out in the Ferrari.

  68. 10:33: 

    If you want to recap on yesterday's action, this video round-up - featuring interviews with Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso - is well worth a look. You can also view it in the console at the top of this live text page.

  69. 10:30: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    Lunch digested, it's time to go testing again!

  70. 10:00: 

    I'm off to stretch my legs and fingers but will be back at 10:30 GMT when the session officially resumes. See you in a bit.


    Williams: Felipe's out the car and says it feels very windy out there today & so track much slower which is impacting on lap time.


    Caterham: We very nearly completed our full race distance sim, only the late red flag prevented us from running the full planned distance...

  73. 09:55: 
    Sebastian Vettel

    We're breaking for lunch early as a result of the red flag. So to recap: Felipe Massa is the pacesetter with a time of 1:37.224. Nico Hulkenberg is second, with Nico Rosberg third. Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel fail to complete a lap all morning, with two breakdowns. Lotus manage just one lap. Williams, Force India and Caterham get good mileage. Ferrari spend most of the morning in the garage.


    Marussia: Jules experienced a problem following his practice start which meant that he couldn't complete the lap. We're just diagnosing the issue.


    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "The wind is picking up and that's going to affect lap times as the day progresses. There's an ever-increasing head wind on the pit straight, which is going to reduce top speeds and unsettle the cars through corners where it becomes a cross-wind or a tail-wind. Hence we're starting to see some lock-ups under braking. It's just what the teams don't need as they prepare for some lower fuel running this afternoon in search of performance."


    Stefan: We can all laugh at Red Bull now, but we all know they could end up with the last laugh at the end of the season.

    GoonerNail: Red Bull have an interesting Plan B.

    Richard Harrison: Wonder what is going through Mark Webber's mind?

  77. 09:46: 

    It's Jules Bianchi in the Marussia. The Frenchman has broken down in the first sector.

  78. 09:44: 

    We've got our second red flag of the day...


    Marussia: With 54 laps on the board, we're sending Jules out for his next run.

  80. 09:36: 

    Red Bull make light of their plight, tweeting this picture with the caption: "Plan B?"

    Red Bull's Plan B?

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "Oh dear. About 45 minutes after stopping on track on his installation lap, Sebastian Vettel tried to take his Red Bull out again - only for it to break down at the end of the pit lane. This is not going well..."

  82. 09:30: 

    Mercedes' Nico Rosberg sets a personal best 1:38.557 which moves him up to third, 1.3 seconds off the pace set by Nico Hulkenberg.

  83. 09:24: 

    The German climbs out of his car and helps the marshals push it back to the garage.

  84. 09:22: 

    Unfortunately for Red Bull, Vettel doesn't even make it to the pit-lane exit this time...

  85. 09:20: 

    Red Bull fire up the car once more and shortly after, reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel pulls out of the garage and into the pit lane for another attempt at a lap.

  86. 09:15: 

    Force India's Nico Hulkenberg reduces the deficit to pacesetter Felipe Massa to 0.776 seconds. Meanwhile, Lotus' Romain Grosjean gets on the board, slotting into ninth and last with a 1:43.088.

  87. 09:10: 

    After just over three hours of testing, here's a recap. Red Bull broke cover after 150 minutes, but only made it four corners before Sebastian Vettel ground to a halt. Mercedes were delayed, too, after a precautionary engine change but Nico Rosberg just managed a three-lap run. Lotus have only managed an installation lap, but McLaren, Force India and Williams have had a very solid morning.

  88. 09:04: 

    Nico Rosberg pits after three laps in the Mercedes. McLaren's Kevin Magnussen, meanwhile, makes it into double figures on this current run.


    Lotus: Install done, usual post installation antics ahoy.

  90. 08:58: 

    There's no messing about for Mercedes. Nico Rosberg doesn't bother with an installation lap and instead gets straight down to business as they bid to make up for lost time. His first lap time is good enough for fourth, 2.4 seconds off the pace.

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    Aaron Goddard: Red Bull are in all sorts of trouble. Should make for an interesting season. Can't wait.

    Richard Bartley: I think we will be lucky if half the cars finish the Melbourne race. Reliability major issue. Engine sound disappointing too.

    Matthew Hobbs: Why do Red Bull insist on covering their car as soon as it breaks down mid lap. Who's going to want to copy it?

  92. 08:54: 

    It's all going on now as Mercedes make a break for it, too. Nico Rosberg, with a new engine bolted in, heads out on track.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "It's fair to say that was not the start to the day Red Bull wanted - or expected. There was a definite sense of optimism after Daniel Ricciardo's 20-lap run late on Friday - their longest of the winter - and they even went to the lengths of tweeting a moody picture of their car and adding: 'Always be ready. You never know what could pounce from the shadows.' That is not, on the face of it, the behaviour of a team expecting to break down four corners into their installation lap after a delay of two and a half hours in the garage. Things might have been looking up on Friday, but they and Sebastian Vettel still desperately need miles. This is hardly going to help."

  94. 08:50: 

    What's that? Is it the sight of a black and gold car in motion? Yes it is. Romain Grosjean has finally made it out on track in the Lotus.

    Will he travel further than his fellow Renault-powered driver Sebastian Vettel? Yes he will. The Frenchman safely makes it back to the garage after completing an installation lap.

  95. 08:46: 
    Max Chilton

    While Jules Bianchi carries out the driving duties for Marussia, it's been a somewhat more relaxing morning for Max Chilton as he gets his pre-season photos out of the way. The Briton will be back in the car tomorrow on the final day of testing.

  96. 08:42: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    We're back under way, with Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat the first to head back out on track.

  97. 08:40: 

    The Red Bull RB10 has made it back to the garage with the mechanics quick to put up the big purple screens, which have been put to good use during pre-season testing. Let the investigations begin...


    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "Sebastian walks back into the Red Bull garage after being dropped in the pit lane by the course car. 'Thank you,' he said to the driver. 'Please take this the right way, but I hope I don't see you again!'"

  99. 08:36: 

    Oh to be a fly on the wall in the Red Bull garage right now...

  100. 08:33: 

    Yep, it's Sebastian Vettel.

  101. 08:30: 

    We've got our first red flag of the day. Can you guess who is to blame?

  102. 08:25: 

    Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull break cover, the reigning world champion trundling down the pit lane before accelerating out onto the track.

    Sebastian Vettel

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "The champ prepares to head out - 2.5 hours after the start of today's session. The team did an engine fire-up 30 minutes ago, so it's been a frustrating delay."

  104. 08:20: 

    Mercedes are still working on their car, following an engine change, while Lotus and Red Bull have yet to make an appearance, too.

  105. 08:15: 

    Felipe Massa still sits on top of the charts, 1.6 seconds clear of Nico Hulkenberg, with Kevin Magnussen third and Daniil Kvyat fourth. Kimi Raikkonen has slotted into fifth ahead of Marcus Ericsson and Jules Bianchi.


    So as we approach the end of pre-season testing, how do you think the aforementioned regulation changes (07:56 entry) have impacted the sport? Are we in for the best season for years? Tweet us using the #bbcf1 hashtag or text 81111 (UK only).


    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "Tyres have taken a bit of a back seat in the coverage of pre-season testing so far, but they will clearly still play an important role in 2014. Pirelli has produced harder tyres this year to cope with the increased torque of the new engines, but motorsport boss Paul Hembery says 'the tyres will still have a degradation factor and from the data we've seen that would still lead us to the two, three stops we've been used to'.

    "He made some interesting points about the impact of potential fuel saving under the new 100kg limit, too. 'If you slow down to conserve some fuel, you lose temperature in the tyres which means you lose tyre performance and you might need to use fuel to get that back so it's a very delicate balance the teams are trying to find,' Hembery said."

  108. 08:00: 

    It's been a while since McLaren's Kevin Magnussen had hit the track. The team report that the car is running but they want to check out a "small problem" before heading back out.

  109. 07:56: 

    If you've been following our pre-season testing live texts, or indeed the world of Formula 1 this year, you'll know that the sport is introducing arguably the biggest set of rule changes in its history.

    Most affected are the engines as the sport goes further than ever before to embrace 'green' technology - but the appearance of the cars is changing, too.

    Well ahead of the new season, we've highlighted the key things to look out for in 2014. Check out the feature on the F1 pages.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "New McLaren recruit Eric Boullier has spoken at length to the media for the first time since being made the team's racing director. Some have been confused by what that title means, although McLaren had always made it clear Boullier would run the team at the tracks, with managing Jonathan Neale acting as chief executive officer while the team try to recruit a permanent occupant of that role.

    "In an interview with, Boullier underlines this: 'The title team principal is heritage - something of the past. It was the team founder or the team owner… The idea is more to split tasks between Jonathan Neale and myself. IT, legal and finance is under Jonathan's scope, racing and engineering under mine.' On working with notoriously demanding chairman Ron Dennis, now back in overall control after ousting ex-team boss Martin Whitmarsh, Boullier says: 'He is a character, true, but that is why the team is what it is today. He is a racer, I am a racer - and there is where it clicks, where it matches.'"

  111. 07:49: 

    It's straight down to business for Felipe Massa, the Williams driver improving on his leading time by 1.4 seconds as he gets down into the low 1m37s.

  112. 07:45: 

    It's a short stint in the pits for Nico Hulkenberg, the Force India driver heading back out, with Felipe Massa's Williams close behind.

  113. 07:42: 

    The track falls silent as Jules Bianchi, Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg head into the pits.

  114. 07:38: 

    Once running is completed tomorrow, there will only be 12 days before the teams are in Melbourne for first practice ahead of the Australian Grand Prix. It's the first of 19 races, with stops in Monaco, Canada, Britain and Singapore among others before the finale in Abu Dhabi. Check out the calendar here with details of our coverage.


    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "Red Bull are due out in 15 minutes. They won't tell me why there's been a delay, only that the car's complete and they're about to head out. New parts came in on Friday, so that might be a hint as to why they're slow out. Sebastian Vettel was chatting to Red Bull motorsport director Helmut Marko when I walked past."

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "McLaren have looked quite good so far in winter testing, third only to Mercedes and Ferrari in terms of laps down and putting in some decent-looking times. Jenson Button said on Friday that the team were in a much better place than before their uncompetitive 2013 season, but suggested the team felt they were off the ultimate pace still. 'We have done a lot of miles, we have a good understanding of the power unit and we know how to race,' Button said. 'But in terms of balance and grip it's not there yet. We have some good things coming which will hopefully help us and we'll progress nearer to the front of the field.'"

  117. 07:27: 

    Williams' Felipe Massa is making the most of his final day in the car before Melbourne with a series of laps as the team work on improving performance.


    Marussia: That's 27 laps so far for @Jules_Bianchi. Pretty good for our first 82 minutes of running!

  119. 07:21: 

    Daniil Kvyat completes his first timed lap of the day. The Toro Rosso driver, who is making his debut in F1 this year, clocks a 1:41.767 to go fourth, 3.1 seconds off the pace.

  120. 07:18: 

    Marussia say they will "be working on a mix of short and long runs, brake evaluations, all in tandem with an aero development programme". Jules Bianchi is in the car today. Max Chilton is on a photo shoot.

  121. 07:13: 

    Regarding the small fire Adrian Sutil's Sauber encountered after his installation lap, the Swiss team say: "Obviously not an ideal start to the day, but that's testing and we are currently investigating the issue."

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:
    Fernando Alonso

    "How quick are Ferrari? That's one of the over-riding questions of testing so far. Fernando Alonso was second fastest to Force India's Sergio Perez on Friday on headline times. But his race run was some way off that of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes. They were at different times of the day, and Hamilton did slightly fewer laps and had a fractured run so they were not perfectly comparable, but on average the Ferrari was about 0.9secs a lap down on the Mercedes.

    "Alonso said he had had some 'issues' with the car which had slowed him down, but added: 'We really need to exploit the potential of the car. Saturday with Kimi and then on the last day we need to... we must have a smooth test and good days to arrive in Australia at 100%. I think right now we are missing something.'"

  123. 07:08: 

    Kimi Raikkonen has popped out to take the Ferrari for a spin, joining Williams' Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg on track.

  124. 07:02: 
    Felipe Massa

    Williams' Felipe Massa hits the top of the charts with a 1:38.603, just over three seconds slower than the best time set yesterday by Force India's Sergio Perez.

  125. 06:56: 

    No sign of Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull as yet. Mercedes are still working on their car, while I suspect Lotus are doing the same after they had a fire yesterday.

  126. 06:51: 

    It's been another strong and reliable test for Williams, with Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa clocking up 231 laps between them on the first two days of testing in Bahrain this week. And with a host of new sponsors joining the team, including a title sponsorship to be officially announced on Thursday, the future is looking bright for Sir Frank's team.


    Williams: For Felipe's final preseason test day we are focusing on performance - although we still have plenty to test each run!

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Mercedes are clearly the pre-season favourites after an impressive testing programme, but there have been some chinks in their armour in the last two days, both of which were cut short by reliability problems, and they have carried out a precautionary engine change overnight.

    "Lewis Hamilton said it was better to get these problems out of the way in testing, and he insisted the team faced stiff competition come the start of the season, saying: 'We have a strong package but I don't feel we are guaranteed [to be] the guys ahead. I'm pretty sure Ferrari is very quick, I'm pretty sure the Red Bull is good. Maybe their engine is not as good as ours but I won't be surprised if at the first race there is a difference of a couple of tenths between the first and second team. We have a fighting chance, but we just don't know where we are.'"

  129. 06:44: 

    And Caterham will be delayed getting out, too. They ended yesterday's session early after "a technical issue caused a fire" and the mechanics are still working on repairing the car. Marcus Ericsson will be behind the wheel today, with Kamui Kobayashi completing the test tomorrow.

  130. 06:40: 
    Adrian Sutil

    Things aren't going so well for Sauber either. Adrian Sutil has rolled to a stop in the pit lane with a small fire at the rear of the car. A marshal is soon on the case with an extinguisher as the German climbs out of the car.

  131. 06:35: 

    It's not a great start to the day for early season favourites Mercedes. The Brackley-based team have carried out a "precautionary" engine change following an overnight inspection of high-mileage components. As a result, there will be a delay in getting Nico Rosberg out on track.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "There was no doubting the positivity exuding from Red Bull after Friday's testing. Daniel Ricciardo spoke of a 'much more optimistic outlook', while engineering co-ordinator Andy Damerum described the day as 'very encouraging'. Part of the programme for Sebastian Vettel is 'performance runs'. But already the indications are the car will be quick as long as it keeps going.

    "Ricciardo's final run on Friday was 20 laps - the longest the car has yet managed - and the lap times were very impressive, in the 1:39-1:40 bracket. The fuel load is not known, of course, but Red Bull always run conservatively in testing. There is clearly a long way to go on reliability - Adrian Newey won't want to keep the big cooling holes that were hacked into the sidepods on Friday, that's for sure - but it's an ominous sign."

    Christian Horner's chair

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has landed in Bahrain. He'll be wanting to see more progress from the team today, this time with Sebastian Vettel behind the wheel."

  134. 06:30: 

    The session is already under way, with Nico Hulkenberg following his Force India team-mate Sergio Perez's example by setting the early pace. The German leads the way with a 1:38.845, 1.4 seconds clear of Kevin Magnussen in the McLaren. Jules Bianchi is the only other driver to have set a time.

  135. 06:25: 

    So Sebastian Vettel is back in action today, but who else will join him on track? Here's the line-up.

    Red Bull: Sebastian Vettel

    Mercedes: Nico Rosberg

    Ferrari: Kimi Raikkonen

    Lotus: Romain Grosjean

    McLaren: Kevin Magnussen

    Force India: Nico Hulkenberg

    Sauber: Adrian Sutil

    Toro Rosso: Daniil Kvyat

    Williams: Felipe Massa

    Marussia: Jules Bianchi

    Caterham: Marcus Ericsson


    Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo: Good progress on track yesterday. The guys been working hard. Hope we can finish off the test strong & continue to learn about the new beast.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "You figured it had to happen sooner or later, and on Friday it finally did. At the 10th time of asking, Red Bull had a decent day in 2014 pre-season testing, and suddenly things don't look quite so bad for the world champions. The timing could not have been better. Sebastian Vettel takes over the car from Daniel Ricciardo for the final two days of testing this weekend and the world champion needs miles - and the team likewise."

  138. 06:20: 

    Hello everybody and welcome to live text commentary of the penultimate day of pre-season testing in Bahrain at the Bahrain International Circuit.

    Just 16 hours of running stand between the 11 teams and first practice for the Australian Grand Prix on 14 March.

  139. 06:15: 

    Red Bull perked up on Friday as Mercedes had their day ruined by gremlins. Is there a twist in the pre-season tale? Will the world champions pull off a recovery just in time? Have Mercedes got themselves in a pickle at just the wrong time? Will Williams and Force India surprise us all by challenging at the front in Melbourne? So many questions, so few answers. What a season we have in store.

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