Vettel Does it Again in Bahrain
Sebastian Vettel celebrates on the podium after winning the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix on April 21. (Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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Golden boy Sabastian Vettel did it again in the Bahrain Grand Prix taking his second win for the season. Despite the off-track uproar, the unstoppable 25-year-old German driver targeted his focus on a victory in Bahrain on Sunday in his screaming Red Bull Renault.
In the lead up to the race, controversy continued to surround the series leader following the Malaysian Gran Prix two races ago in March, where he ignored team instructions to overtake unhappy team mate Mark Webber to top the podium. But Vettel seemed unaffected in Bahrain.
Vettel started the race in second position—behind Nico Rosberg—with a 3-stop strategy to win the race and extend his overall driver’s championship lead to 10 points. This achievement puts the triple world champion in a good position for the series ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix on May 12.
“[It was a] faultless, seamless race from start to finish,” said Vettel in a BBC interview.
Many drivers had used medium tyres, with some teams stopping from two up to four times due to tyre wear.
“I knew it was crucial to get into the lead and look after the tyres. The pace was phenomenal. The car was great. I could push every single lap and look after the tyres,” Vettel said.
“I lost out to Fernando [Alonso] at the first corner, but I could get him back. I saved some Kers and could out-accelerate him into Turn Six. Out of Turn Four I did the same on Nico, a little bit of Kers and got him into Turn Five.
“[It was] incredible the pace we had today, we surely did not expect that.”
Kimi Raikkonen in Lotus should be pleased with his performance that put him in second place and second in the series on 67 points.
Meanwhile, the Swiss born, Romain Grosjean, partner in the Lotus duo made it to the third place. Paul de Resta in the Force India came fourth after he was in a good position to score his first podium in lap 48, but was overtaken by Romain Grosjean in lap 52.
Lewis Hamilton overcame a 5-place grid penalty to finish in fifth. The British Mercedes team driver is third in the series with 50 points
Sergio Pere took sixth for McLaren-Mercedes, while Webber finished seventh.
A dramatic setback for Fernando Alonso resulted in an eighth place position. On the sixth lap, Alonso, winner of the China GP the weekend before, had bad luck with the DRS on his Ferrari that had failed. He was forced out of the race and had to stop and fix the rear wing, which had literally turned upside down. The problem wasn’t fixed the first time properly and the Ferrari had to take more stops. Alonso sits fourth in the series with 47 points.
Felippe Massa, team mate of Alonso, had a difficult race too. He had a collision immediately after the start and then picked up tyre problems. He had two disastrous punctures that made him lose a lot of precious time and placed him in 15th position.
In the Constructors Championship, after the completion of four of 19 races in the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship season, Red Bull leads with 109 points, followed by Lotus-Renault (93), Ferrari (77) and Mercedes (64), respectively.
Vincent P. Potgieter is a sports writer from South Africa based in Hong Kong.