Felipe Massa scorched to the topped of the timings setting the fastest time seen so far in Bahrain on Saturday.
The Williams driver posted a 1:33.258 with 15 minutes to go pipping Nico Rosberg’s best from last week by .03 of a second.
It was the Mercedes driver who looked set to top the timings setting a 1:33.484 just minutes before Massa beat it but as the times at the top were being lowered it was Red Bull who hit a fresh low failing to complete a single lap on day three.
Sebastian Vettel was back in the RB10 and after a much improved day on Friday, the German would have been expected to get down to some serious work. Instead he broke down after just four corners and failed to leave the pits on his second attempt.
It wasn’t just Red Bull that struggled as Adrian Sutil’s Sauber only managed a single lap before a smoky failure forced the C33 off the track.
Lotus failed to set a competitive lap time after electrical and ERS issues blighted Romain Grosjean’s day, though the Frenchman did complete 33 laps in the E22.
For much of Saturday the pattern followed the previous two as teams completed on long run pace and running race simulations.
On that front there was some hope for Renault as Caterham became the first non-Mercedes or Ferrari powered car to complete such mileage.
Though it was cut slightly short by a red flag caused by Marussia, Marcus Ericsson was able to complete 600km, twice a normal race distance, on Saturday as was Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India – maintaining their strong week so far.
Nico Rosberg was the final man over 100 laps or 560km on a day which saw all but the three teams mentioned earlier, complete 78 laps or more.
Ferrari continued it’s quiet progress with Kimi Raikkonen aiming to finally complete a full race simulation, though it was interrupted early by a red flag he did manage this lapping the Sakhir circuit pretty constantly for the final two hours setting the third best time late on.
Kevin Magnussen also put more long run mileage on the McLaren finishing fourth ahead of Daniil Kvyat in the Toro Rosso as the junior Red Bull team had their best day of preseason so far.
On a day when both perennial strugglers, Marussia and Caterham, completed good mileage, it was noticeable that the now Ferrari-powered Russian backed team had a second advantage over their Malaysian rivals on the timings though the green CT04 did complete 40 more laps.
Yet after all that it comes down to this, Sunday marks 14 days before the five lights go out at Albert Park and on the final day of testing all eyes will be focused on Red Bull, after a mixed test so far with one good day, one OK day and one shocking day, the current world champions will desperately be looking for signs of hope to carry with them on the long trip Down Under.
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