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Vettel wins in Bahrain

2012-04-22 15:39

THE TOP THREE: Lotus F1 drivers Kimi Raikkonen (left) and Romain Grosjean (right) flank the winning Red Bull driver, a playful Sebastian Vettel, on the podium in Bahrain.

MANAMA, Bahrain - Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel returned to the top of the standings on Sunday with Red Bull's first victory of the season in a lively Bahrain Grand Prix that went ahead without incident despite protests against it.

The 24-year-old German's 22nd career triumph, and first in the troubled Gulf kingdom, made him the fourth different winner in four races.

He was pushed hard in the closing laps by Finland's 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen, who finished second ahead of Lotus team mate Romain Grosjean in the Frenchman's first appearance on the F1 podium.


Australian Mark Webber was fourth in the other Red Bull for the fourth successive race.

Vettel, who closed his eyes and took a deep breath as he stood on the podium, said:"It was a difficult race, extremely tough."

With the main grandstand half empty, and few spectators to be seen elsewhere at a circuit with a maximum capacity of 45 000, the race was a far from normal affair after days dominated by talk of petrol bombs and teargas.

There have been almost nightly clashes elsewhere on the island between anti-government protesters and riot police, and teams and organisers could breathe a sigh of relief that the race went off without trouble on the track.


Vettel, who had started from pole position for the first time this season after a record 15 starts from the top slot last year, made his trademark single-finger salute for the first time since last year after taking the chequered flag.

With fuel running low, he was then told to pull over and stop immediately at the pit exit - which meant he had to run down the pit lane to embrace his mechanics.

Vettel now has 53 points, ousting McLaren's Lewis Hamilton from the top. The Briton, who finished eighth after two nightmare pitstops, has 49.

Red Bull also overtook McLaren in the constructors' championship.

Germany's Nico Rosberg, winner of the previous race in China in the first victory by a Mercedes works team since 1955, finished fifth with a stewards' enquiry hanging over him for moves on Hamilton and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

Britain's Paul Di Resta was sixth for Force India with Alonso seventh and Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa finally in the points in ninth ahead of Germany's seven-times champion Michael Schumacher in a Mercedes.

McLaren's Jenson Button retired on the penultimate lap.

Bahrain Grand Prix:
Race results (provisional)
1 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 1hour 35min 10.990sec
2 Kimi Raikkonen (Finlnad) Lotus +3.333sec
3 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus +10.194sec
4 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull +38.788sec
5 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes +55.460sec
6 Paul di Resta (Great Britain) Force India +57.543sec
7 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari +57.803sec
8 Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain) McLaren +58.984sec
9 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari +1:04.999sec
10 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes +1:11.490sec
11 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber +1:12.702sec
12 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Force India +1:16.539sec
13 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber +1:30.334sec
14 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso +1:33.723sec
15 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso) +1 lap
16 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham +1 lap
17 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham +1 lap
18 Jenson Button (Great Britain) McLaren +2 laps
19 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia +2 laps
20 Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT +2 laps
21 Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT +2 laps
22 Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams +3 laps

Driver standings after the F1 Bahrain GP:

1 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 53 points
2 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 49
3 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 48
4 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 43
5 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 43
6 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes GP 35
7 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Renault 34
8 Romain Grosjean (France) Renault 23
9 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber 22
10 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India 15
11 Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams 14
12 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber 9
13 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 4
14 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 4
15 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso 2
16 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Force India 2
17 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 2
18 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes GP 2
19 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia 0
20 Charles Pic (France) Marussia 0
21 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Team Lotus 0
22 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Team Lotus 0
23 Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT 0
24 Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT 0

Constructor standings after the F1 Bahrain GP:
1 Red Bull 101 points
2 McLaren 92
3 Lotus 57
4 Ferrari 45
5 Mercedes 37
6 Sauber 31
7 Williams 18
8 Force India 17
9 Toro Rosso 6
10 Marussia 0
11 Caterham 0
12 HRT 0

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