Max Verstappen showed Red Bull have what it takes to challenge Mercedes for the world title this year as they out-performed the Silver Arrows for the majority of pre-season testing.
After a turbulent first two days, in which Valtteri Bottas encountered gearbox issues and Lewis Hamilton beached his car, Mercedes were hoping for a long stint on the track in Bahrain.
However, the Silver Arrows were only able to take their lap tally up to 164 for the weekend, which was the lowest of any team.
Bottas got a good run out in the morning session but Hamilton spent a lengthy period in the garage with the covers across, meaning the floor of the car was off while engineers worked.
When the seven-time world champion was finally out and putting his foot down he was only able to set the fifth quickest lap time.
There are suspicions that Mercedes were sandbagging by carrying more fuel than their rivals.
Either way, it will do little to quell the excitement in the Red Bull garage as Verstappen set the fastest time. His team-mate Sergio Perez also topped the charts in the morning session.
Surprisingly, rookie Yuki Tsunoda set the second quickest time of the day, less than a tenth off Verstappen’s pace, albeit on softer tyres.
Carlos Sainz offered Ferrari hope that they will be able to keep up the pace with Mercedes and Red Bull with a third place finish.
Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, and he had an exciting finish to testing.
The Finn made contact with Sainz just as the chequered flag was falling on the final session, with the pair bizarrely racing wheel-to-wheel.
Williams star George Russell was just behind Hamilton in sixth place, while Perez, Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc completed the top ten.
Teams will now have two weeks to analyse all of the data they secured over this weekend before the season kicks off in Bahrain.
DAY THREE TIMESHEET
1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 1:28.960, 64 laps, soft tyres (C4)
2. Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, +0.093, 91 laps, soft tyres (C5)
3. Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, +0.651, 79 laps, soft tyres (C4)
4. Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, +0.806, 166laps, soft tyres (C5)
5. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +1.065, 54 laps, soft tyres (C5)
6. George Russell, Williams, +1.157, 158 laps, soft tyres (C5)
7. Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, +1.184, 76 laps, soft tyres (C4)
8. Sergio Perez, Red Bull, +1.227, 49 laps, soft tyres (C4)
9. Fernando Alonso, Alpine, +1.358, 78 laps, soft tyres (C4)
10. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, +1.526, 80 laps, medium tyres (C3)
11. Lando Norris, McLaren, +1.701, 56 laps, medium tyres (C3)
12. Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, +1.868, 76 laps, soft tyres (C4)
13. Esteban Ocon, Alpine, +2.350, 61 laps, medium tyres (C3)14. Nikita Mazepin, Haas, +2.571, 67 laps, soft tyres (C4)
15. Mick Schumacher, Haas, +3.093, 78 laps, medium tyres (C3)
16. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, +3.446, 86 laps, medium tyres (C3)
17. Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, +6.081, 56 laps, medium tyres (C3)
18. Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, +7.140, 80 laps, medium tyres (C3)