Piastri in a spin as Red Bull dominate final test day

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez moved ominously up the leaderboard as the sun went down to seal his team's domination on the third and final day of Formula One testing.

But it was another difficult day for McLaren and their Australian new boy Oscar Piastri, who ended up as second slowest on Saturday after also putting his car into a spin in the morning session.

Perez's driving underlined on Saturday how strong Red Bull look heading into next weekend's season-opening race on the same Sakhir desert circuit in Bahrain, after defending world champion Max Verstappen had led the first test day.

"A very successful end to the test with another day of uninterrupted running," Red Bull head of race engineering Gianpiero Lambiase said.

"Checo (Perez) was able to complete a variety of test items, including a chance to get a feel for the car under conditions closer to qualifying and the race."

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was 0.36 seconds behind Perez in second but the twitchy W14 again experienced problems with balance and traction.

"We're not quite where we want to be but it's a good platform to start from," Hamilton said. "We don't know where we will be next week, but we will stay positive."

Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas was 0.52 behind Perez in third ahead of Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc -- who led after the morning session -- and Carlos Sainz Jr. The Ferraris were around 0.7 seconds off Perez's pace but showed good reliability.

"We finished the test without any issues and completed the full run plan," Leclerc said.

AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda was in sixth spot ahead of Haas driver Kevin Magnussen. Mercedes' George Russell, who drove in the morning, was eighth.

Testing offers a rough guide to a team's speed, with the cars often set up in very different ways or sometimes holding some speed back.

But McLaren CEO Zak Brown said on Friday he felt his team was behind its projected targets.

He will hardly have been reassured when Piastri had a big spin on the track, although he recovered quickly.

Lando Norris took over in the afternoon but placed only 11th, with Piastri finishing 19th of the day's 20 drivers.

"There's definitely still a fair bit of learning to do," admitted the 21-year-old Melbourne driver.