Vettel storms to victory in Bahrain

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Vettel storms to victory in Bahrain

It was a like a heavy metal solo, if you like. Watched by legendary heavy metal band Metallica, who wrapped up their concert in Abu Dhabi on Friday night and made the short-trip to Bahrain, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel created a cracking solo of his own in the Middle Eastern desert.

By James Jose

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Published: Mon 22 Apr 2013, 1:18 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:56 AM

The three-time world champion, drove a calm and calculated race to win the Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.

The German, who qualified second, overtook pole-sitter Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg on Lap 3 and never looked back thereafter.

Vettel spent a lonely afternoon in front before he took the chequered flag at the 5.412km Sakhir Circuit, 9.1 seconds ahead of LotusF1’s Kimi Raikkonen. In a race which saw a flurry of overtaking and teammate battles at the back, Vettel finished with a time of 1:36.00.498s in the 57-lap race.

It was the 28th win of his career in 105 GP starts. It was also his second race victory of the season.

Red Bull Racing’s German driver Sebastian Vettel drives at the Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday. — AFP

The win extended Vettel’s lead on top of the Drivers’ Championship and he now holds a 10-point lead over Raikkonen. Vettel has 77 points with Raikkonen on 67 points as the F1 bandwagon heads to Barcelona, Spain for the fifth round of the FIA Formula One World Championship.

But the most impressive result of the day was that of LotusF1’s. Raikkonen led a LotusF1 one-two with teammate Romain Grosjean finishing an impressive third. And interestingly, the top three finishers were the same as last year.

Raikkonen, who has learnt the art of preserving the under-fire Pirelli tyres, was on a two-stopper and finished with a time of 1:36:09.609s. It was his third podium in four races this season.

Raikkonen had topped the second free practice on Friday but was down in eighth in qualifying. Grosjean had qualified 11th. Grosjean ended the race with a time of 1:36:20.005s. Force India’s Paul Di Resta was looking good for his first podium finish but couldn’t fend off Grosjean, who was on fresher tyres after a three-stopper. Di Resta still finished an impressive fourth.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who had suffered a five-grid penalty because of a gearbox change and lined up ninth on the grid, finished fifth after overtaking Red Bull’s Mark Webber on the final lap.

McLaren’s Sergio Perez, who was urged to use his elbows and show more fight by his team boss Martin Whitmarsh, did just that. He was involved in a dramatic battle with his teammate Jenson Button, then Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and then Webber. Perez truly earned that sixth over Webber.

The Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, who have been dominant in Bahrain over the years, had a disappointing race. Alonso, winner last time out in China, had issues with his rear wing from Lap 7. And though he pitted in the next lap to have it sorted out, it stuck open again. Despite the issue where he drove the rest of the race without DRS, Alonso finished eighth.

Teammate Felipe Massa had a damaged front wing after lap 4. He later suffered a right rear puncture and eventually finished down in 15th. Pole-sitter Nico Rosberg just didn’t have the pace for a race and finished P9. Button rounded off the top 10. Vettel was quicker than Rosberg as the lights went off and Vettel tried to look in on the inside and then the outside. But Rosberg fended him off. Alonso pounced on that opportunity and got past Vettel to second. Vettel tried a move in Turn 3 and got ahead of Alonso but Alonso won it back.

Vettel did overtake Alonso on the next lap and attacked Rosberg for the lead. But Rosberg held on. But not for long as Vettel took the lead on Lap 3.

There was a plethora of overtaking but the most interesting battle was way down between the McLarens of Perez and Button. It started on Lap 25 and got intense on Lap29 when, fighting for fifth, Perez made contact with the rear of Button’s car. They went wheel-to-wheel in the ensuing corners but Grosjean took advantage of the tussle to split the two McLarens.

james@khaleejtimes.com



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