SAKHIR, Bahrain – Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull completely dominated their Formula One World Championship opposition in Bahrain on Sunday.
Nico Rosberg led the opening two laps from pole position, but once Vettel overtook the Mercedes on the third lap the race was his to lose. On an opening set of medium Pirelli tires and then three sets of new hards, he was simply unbeatable and controlled the race to win as he pleased.
Behind him, however, it was a hard race to read but a thrilling one nonetheless. Raikkonen overshadowed at times as his stops were out of kilter with the rest of the field, as was Paul di Resta who drove a brilliant race for Force India from fifth place on the grid.
Unable to contain Raikkonen’s faster Lotus, the Scot was on target for a podium finish until Romain Grosjean, in the second Lotus and on a three-stop strategy, hauled him in and overtook with seven laps left.
Despite missing the podium, Di Resta’s performance equaled the best of his F-1 career and was a reward for the poor fortune he’s had so far this year.
Behind them, fifth place was at times the subject of super-heated debate between Mark Webber’s Red Bull, the McLarens and both Mercedes cars. In particular, the McLaren pair of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez had such a scrap that the Englishman at one stage instructed his team over the radio to ‘Calm him down’ after Perez tapped the 2009 world champion’s right-rear wheel with his front wing.
Rosberg faded after suffering contact at one stage with Webber, and needed a fourth pit stop. But once he got ahead, the Australian was vulnerable.