Alonso debuts at Ferrari with a win

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuitbh

Fernando Alonso debuted at Ferrari in the best possible way by winning his first ever race for the Italian team. The Ferrari driver had some help from Red Bull as Vettel's car had a problem and fell back from the lead. Felipe Massa is second, Lewis Hamilton third.

The two HRT cars start from the pitlane in the first GP of the season. Both cars suffered technical problems. It will be interesting to see how long they will last in the race after having completed only the minimal number of laps.

As the lights went out, Vettel was not under any threat and could easily maintain the lead from pole position. Fernando Alonso launched off the grid better than his teammate and moved up to second place by taking the ouside of the first corner.

Michael Schumacher managed to gain a place after Webber has a minor oil leak in the first corner. Behind them the reduced visibility causes Kubica and Sutil to hit each other, both men spinning but able to continue their race in the back of the field.

In lap 3 Hulkenberg slides off the track, seemingly on an oil spot. At the same time Di Grassi moves off the track with his Virgin Racing VR-01 and abandons the race with a technical problem.

By lap 6, Hamilton is putting pressure on Nico Rosberg while Mark Webber is closing into Michael Schumacher. The super soft tyres are certainly starting to degrade and it is now down to the cars with better tyre management to gain some time.

In lap 12 Bruno Senna is the first to make a regular pitstop. It took him 32 seconds from the start of the 80km/h zone, and the pitcrew's work 9.2 seconds. Interestingly, Kubica makes a stop one lap later and he is out of the pitlane after only 22.6 seconds.

A further lap into the race, Petrov is in and his race is completely ruined in the pitlane. After problems with fitting the rear wheels, it seems that there is a problem with the front suspension, effectively meaning the end of the race.

In lap 16, Hamilton and Schumacher are in the pitlane one after another. Both men are fitted with new tyres in approximately 4.5 seconds.

By now, Vettel has stretched his lead over Alonso to 5.5 seconds. Alonso is the first Ferrari to stop, with Massa and Vettel following one lap later. Red Bull managed to perform Vettel's stop in 4.0 seconds, the quickest stop so far. All men in front have chosen to change from the super soft to the harder tyre.

Just when Vettel stopped, Timo Glock is pulled into the pitlane, ending the race of the last Virgin on track, while in lap 20 Senna's race also comes to an end after his Cosworth engine blew up on the main straight.

Mark Webber meanwhile is having trouble getting past Button, even though it seems there is a lot more speed in the Red Bull RB6. Kubica is more succesful in passing cars. He's quickly pulling away from Buemi and De La Rosa after passing them in consecutive laps.

Since the first stops, Alonso and Massa are closing into Vettel, with only 1.5 seconds of difference between the first two in lap 31. One lap later however, Alonso backed down a full second to keep his engine cool. A further lap Alonso is closer than he had ever been after Vettel lost all his advantage on the straight. Half a lap further Alonso is past Vettel while Massa passed him on the straight.

Vettel's car is apparently suffering from an exhaust failure, but the handling still looks ok. Hamilton is now in 4th and is 4 seconds a lap quicker than Vettel. The German looks set to lose many more places before he gets to the race finish.

Of the new teams, only the Lotus cars are still on track. They are not the fastest at least they last. The Virgin cars are out, HRT is out and BMW Sauber retracted its cars from the race to avoid further technical problems.

5 laps from the end some Ferrari engineers are worried about Massa's car, but the pace is still reasonable to make it to the finish in second place. Alonso on the other hand is easily pulling a gap and puts down the fastest lap of the race.

2 laps to go and Vettel is now trying to fend off Nico Rosberg. The Mercedes GP driver easily comes closer on the straights but cannot keep up with the Red Bull in just about every corner of the circuit.


1F. AlonsoFerrari1:39:20.396
2F. MassaFerrari+ 16.099
3L. HamiltonMcLaren+ 23.182
4S. Vettel (P)Red Bull+ 38.799
5N. RosbergMercedes Grand Prix+ 40.213
6M. SchumacherMercedes Grand Prix+ 44.163
7J. ButtonMcLaren+ 45.280
8M. WebberRed Bull+ 46.360
9V. LiuzziForce India F1+ 53.008
10R. BarrichelloWilliams+ 1:02.489
11R. KubicaRenault+ 1:09.093
12A. SutilForce India F1+ 1:22.958
13J. AlguersuariScuderia Toro Rosso+ 1:32.656
14N. HulkenbergWilliams+ 1 lap(s)
15H. KovalainenLotus F1+ 2 lap(s)
Did not finish
16S. BuemiScuderia Toro Rosso+ 3 lap(s)
17J. TrulliLotus F1+ 3 lap(s)
18P. de la RosaSauber+ 21 lap(s)
19B. SennaHrt F1 Team+ 32 lap(s)
20T. GlockVirgin Racing+ 33 lap(s)
21V. PetrovRenault+ 36 lap(s)
22K. KobayashiSauber+ 38 lap(s)
23L. Di GrassiVirgin Racing+ 47 lap(s)
24K. ChandhokHrt F1 Team+ 48 lap(s)