Fernando Alonso takes the first win of the new 2010 season leading a Ferrari one-two at the Bahrain International Circuit. Felipe Massa finishes in second with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton in third.
This race victory is a dream scenario for Alonso. After a frustrating season with Renault, it’s fantastic to see the Spaniard winning on his debut at the Scuderia. That first corner move on his Ferrari team-mate was crucial. For Massa, to finish in second position following his horrifying accident last year is a great achievement.
As for Sebastian Vettel, who led from the opening lap in the Red Bull, his Luscious Liz suffered a technical failure (not the exhaust as reported earlier but in fact the engine) meaning a loss of power. A real shame as the German was driving faultlessly. To finish fourth was a small reward but at least the pace of the RB6 is good despite the reliability problem. Without that issue, it would have been a straightforward lights-to-flag win for Vettel and Red Bull Racing.
The Silver Arrows finished in fifth and sixth, with Nico Rosberg out-performing his more experience team-mate Michael Schumacher all weekend. The young German has certainly put his world champion colleague in the shade with consistent and impressive performances. In Michael’s case, he really needs to step up his game in order to stay competitive after three years out of the sport.
It was a difficult race for the current world champion Jenson Button. The McLaren driver spent most of the Grand Prix stuck behind slower cars including his old former team now rebranded as Mercedes. To finish seventh is not the ideal result to defend his title but better performance from McLaren will come.
Mark Webber had a trouble-free run to eighth despite his Red Bull emitting huge plumes of white smoke on the opening lap. Unsighted in the smoke, Renault’s Robert Kubica and Force India’s Adrian Sutil made contact and spun, although they recovered to finish the 49-lap race in eleventh and twelfth respectively.
Finishing in between the Renault-powered cars is Vitantonio Liuzzi in the Force India with Rubens Barrichello taking the final point-scoring position for Williams.
As for the Formula One rookies, this was a tough race for Nico Hulkenberg and Vitaly Petrov. For Hulkenberg, he lost control of his Williams around the tricky and twisting section of the Bahrain track. As for Petrov, he was forced to retire in the pits with a suspension problem. The Renault driver felt he may have caused this by hitting a kerb too hard but prior to this, he was making a steady progress.
Lotus F1 Racing should be extremely satisfied to get both cars to the chequered flag, with Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli within three seconds of the pace at times on their way to P15 and P16, although the Italian had to nurse a mechanical problem in the final laps.
The same cannot be said to Hispania and Virgin Racing sadly. With limited running in the build-up to the Bahrain Grand Prix, Karun Chandhok lost control of his car as early as lap two. While his team-mate Bruno Senna had a suspected hydraulic problem 16 laps later. Virgin Racing was also forced to retire both cars. Hydraulic issues stopping Lucas di Grassi after two laps with team-mate Timo Glock hitting gearbox trouble.
After setting some impressive lap times during testing, Sauber’s pace was very disappointing. Both Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi was forced to quit with hydraulic issues mid-race.
So a great result for Fernando Alonso, his first victory since the 2008 Japanese Grand Prix. It wasn’t the most exciting race after all the hype leading up to the Bahrain Grand Prix but in terms of competition between the top four teams, it is really close. Hopefully a better show in the following Australian Grand Prix will provide more entertainment and overtaking.
Race results, Bahrain Grand Prix. 49 laps:
1. Alonso Ferrari 1h39:20.396
2. Massa Ferrari +16.099
3. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes +23.182
4. Vettel Red Bull-Renault +38.713
5. Rosberg Mercedes +40.263
6. Schumacher Mercedes +44.180
7. Button McLaren-Mercedes +45.260
8. Webber Red Bull-Renault +46.308
9. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes +53.089
10. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth +1:02.400
11. Kubica Renault +1:09.093
12. Sutil Force India-Mercedes +1:22.958
13. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1:32.656
14. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth +1 lap
15. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth +1 lap
16. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari +3 laps
17. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth +3 laps
Fastest lap: Alonso, 1:58.287
De la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 30 laps
Senna HRT-Cosworth 18 laps
Glock Virgin-Cosworth 17 laps
Petrov Renault 14 laps
Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 12 laps
Di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 3 laps
Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 2 laps
World Championship standings, round 1:
1. Alonso 25
2. Massa 18
3. Hamilton 15
4. Vettel 12
5. Rosberg 10
6. Schumacher 8
7. Button 6
8. Webber 4
9. Liuzzi 2
10. Barrichello 1
1. Ferrari 43
2. McLaren-Mercedes 21
3. Mercedes 18
4. Red Bull-Renault 16
5. Force India-Mercedes 2
6. Williams-Cosworth 1
Next race: Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne. March 26-28.