Sebastian Vettel wins Bahrain Grand Prix

Apr 22, 2012, 20:12 IST | AFP

Red Bull driver and double world champion Sebastian Vettel has won the Bahrain Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen came in second behind him.

Defending double world champion Sebastian Vettel won Sunday's controversial Bahrain Grand Prix with a dominant drive in his Red Bull, the 24-year-old German controlling the race from start to finish.

Vettel claimed his first victory of the season and the 22nd of his career with a near-flawless drive from pole position to the chequered flag to come home ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 champion, and his Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean.

Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel celebrates his first win of the 2012 season. Pic/AFP

The German leads the standings as the fourth different winner while Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber finished fourth for the fourth straight time.

Raikkonen's Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean took third.

It was Grosjean's first podium finish in Formula One and Raikkonen's fifth and Vettel's first win since the Indian Grand Prix last year.

In the overall standings Vettel has 53 points, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton 49 and Webber 48.

Vettel controlled the race from the start but the surprise came from the Lotus pair of Grosjean and Raikkonen, who started from seventh and 11th respectively, and soon moved up the field.

Grosjean overtook Hamilton early on to move into second place, while Raikkonen, who returned to the sport after having retired at the end of the 2009 season had moved up to third by the 20th lap.

Hamilton, who pitted from third, again suffered a poor pit stop as mechanics struggled to fit the rear left tyre, causing the McLaren driver to tumble down the standings.

Force India's Paul di Resta, who pitted much later than most of the other teams as he was on a two-stop strategy, took over the lead momentarily when Vettel pitted for the fist time.

On lap 24 Raikkonen, who at this stage was the fastest driver in the field, overtook his team-mate to move into second place and begin chasing Vettel in earnest.

Behind them, there was further disaster for Hamilton during the second pit stop, when there was another problem, causing him to drop to 11th.

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg was involved in two incidents at the same corner as he seemed to push first Hamilton and then Ferrari's Fernando Alonso off the track on the run to turn 4.

Up front Raikkonen was putting pressure on Vettel as he had cut the German's lead to less than two seconds, with Grosjean third ahead of Webber.

Di Resta was lying fifth, while McLaren's Jenson Button was sixth.

Button overtook the Force India on the 33rd lap to move into fifth place, while Raikkonen closed in on Vettel and reduced the lead to less than a second with 23 laps to go.

With a handful of laps to go, Vettel was leading from the two Lotus cars, with Webber in fourth. Rosberg was fifth, while di Resta was holding on to sixth place from Button, who however had to pit with a flat tyre with just three laps to go and fell well outside the top 10.

That allowed Alonso to move into seventh with Hamilton eight, Massa ninth and Mercedes' Michael Schumacher, who started from 22nd after being given a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, took the final point in 10th place.

Go to top