Sebastian Vettel takes first win of the season in Bahrain
This race may be remembered for taking place in the teeth of strong protest but Sebastian Vettel will remember it as his first win of the season.
Despite fears of some sort of a protest or disruption, the Bahrain GP passed off without incident, or at least without any incident that was broadcast on TV.
With world champion Sebastian Vettel back on pole in his Red Bull, this looked like it would be the race when the German would reassert his authority on the world of Formula 1 and so it proved.
A fast start by Vettel left McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton in second at the first bend and though Vettel would come under pressure due to his three-stop strategy, it was an assured first win of 2012.
Vettel’s chief enemy was Kimi Raikkonen but the Lotus driver’s rise up the places was halted at second, as he could not overhaul the eventual winner. Another Lotus, Romain Grosjean, finished third with Mark Webber in fourth and just off the podium.
Hamilton eventually finished in eighth, losing is top spot in the Drivers' Championship while his team-mate Jenson Button suffered a miserable afternoon.
Button was in sixth, and improving, when he suffered a puncture three laps from home before a broken exhaust saw him retire.
The drive of the day was by Force India’s Paul Di Resta. His team has endured more than most in Bahrain, with their team vehicles coming under attack this week, but Di Resta did his team proud, with a great drive to take sixth.
The normally dull race produced lots of action. Michael Schumacher was relegated five places before the race even started due to a gearbox change (he would finish 10th) and Nico Rosberg, who finished fifth, will likely be investigated according to the BBC for how he defended his place against Fernando Alonso and Hamilton.
Vettel is the fourth different winner in four races so far this year so it is shaping up to be a cracking year. Vettel is top now on 53 points, with Hamilton just four back, one ahead of Mark Webber, with Button and Fernando Alonso on 43 points.