F1 2013

Renault-powered Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel win adrenalin filled Bahrain Grand Prix - Three Renault engines on the podium

German triple Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull simply smoked their opponents in Bahrain this Sunday afternoon, and although his three-stop race strategy left him only 9.1s ahead of Kimi Raikkonen’s two-stopping Lotus, the margin of superiority was very apparent. He scored his second victory of the 2013 Formula 1 season and the 28th since he started to drive Formula 1. French Lotus driver Romain Grosjean completed the Renault engine occupied podium, thus repeating last year's podium arrangement. For the French engine manufacturer, it was the 154th Formula 1 victory, while it was the 36th for the Red Bull Racing Renault partnership.

Starting from pole position, Nico Rosberg led the opening two laps but once the German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel overtook the Mercedes on the third lap (13 kilometers), the race was in his hands. Only a driving mistake, a delay during the routine pit stops or when overtaking one back markers, could have kept him from scoring 25 points and extend his Formula 1 2013 driver's championship lead. On an opening set of medium Pirelli tires and then three sets of new hard compound tires, he was simply unbeatable and controlled the race, which he won at the end.

Behind him, however, it was a thrilling and pure adrenalin boosting race. Kimi Raikkonen was unsurprisingly outshined at times as his pit stops were not perfectly performed and miss-timed when compared with the other teams, as was Paul di Resta who drove an excellent race for Force India from P5 on the grid. Unable to keep Kimi Raikkonen’s faster Lotus behind him, the Scot was on target for a podium finish until Romain Grosjean, in the second Lotus and on a three-stop strategy, overtook him seven laps before the end of the race. As a matter of fact, it must be mentioned here, that the Finish Lotus driver could have had a serious shot to win this Grand Prix, if his first pit stop was planned a bit smarter and performed faster and much more efficient. The total pit time of the first pit visit of the Iceman was 22.715 seconds, while the fastest total pit time of the race was held by Sergio Perez with 21.471 seconds!

Despite missing the podium by a slight margin, Paul Di Resta’s performance was by many regarded as the best of his F1 career and a sincere reward for the poor luck he had during this season.

Behind them, fifth place was at a lot of moments the subject of a breath-taking fight between Australian Red Bull driver Mark Webber, the two McLaren Mercedes (with Zain logo instead of Vodafone) and both Mercedes cars. In particular, the McLaren pair of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez had such a heated fight that the 2009 Formula 1 World Champion at one stage instructed his team over the radio to 'Calm him down' after Perez touched the Englishman's right-rear wheel with his front wing. The tenacious McLaren Mercedes duel reminded a lot of Formula 1 fans of the Red Bull wheel to wheel fight in this year's Malaysia Grand Prix, which almost ended with a Red Bull crash.

German Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg swiftly faded after suffering contact at one stage with Mark Webber, and needed a fourth pit stop, thus not being able to coin the superior starting position into a long-awaited podium finish. But once he got ahead, the Australian Red Bull driver was defenseless. McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who in the early phases of the race had been 11th and looking after his tires, became thriving at this point and overtook the second Red Bull on the 51st lap, but Mark Webber was able to retaliate on the 53rd lap. This constellation provided expansive side-by-side racing scenes between the two as Australian Red Bull driver Mark Webber blocked and English McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton dipped and dived behind him.

On the final lap Lewis Hamilton passed by the inside leading into Turn 1, and Mark Webber had to concede defenselessly. As he and Lewis Hamilton had fought, Sergio Perez got a second chance after dealing with an attacking Fernando Alonso, and passed the Red Bull as Mark Webber lost momentum after Lewis Hamilton’s overtaking maneuver.

Spanish Scuderia Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso had grabbed second at the start, but after Sebastian Vettel passed him later on during this that lap after prudent utilization of his KERS, the Spaniard stopped very early for new tires on the seventh lap, then had to visit the pits again on the ninth when his DRS rear wing flap remained in the open position, and was not repaired properly during the previous pit stop. That dropped him way back, and left him to fight back - DRS -less- for the rest of a disastrous afternoon for the Scuderia Ferrari in which he would eventually finish eighth.

Pole setter Nico Rosberg finished a frustrated ninth in a race in which he had earlier run way ahead of his British team mate, while Jenson Button stayed ahead of his team mate Sergio Perez in their entertaining battle, but in the end also had to make a fourth pit stop and thus dropped back to tenth place.

Pastor Maldonado drove a controlled race to finish in 11th place for Williams, after team mate Valtteri Bottas required a late stop for fresh rubber and the Scuderia Ferrari of Felipe Massa, who had to stop four times because of a failed tire early on and then a serious puncture on the right rear wheel towards the end, fell back. Thus it was Nico Hulkenberg on Sauber who crossed the line in 12th place, with Adrian Sutil recovering from another first-lap discord, with unlucky Brazilian Scuderia Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, to take 15th for Force India after a race performance which at one stage earned him fastest lap. Valtteri Bottas was 14th, Massa 15th.

Daniel Ricciardo was Toro Rosso’s only finisher in 16th after Jean-Eric Vergne became the race’s only retirement after an early crash with Giedo van der Garde’s Caterham.

The Marussias leap frogged the Caterhams at the start, as per the pre-race plan, but then Charles Pic overtook them both and swept away to secure a minor victory for the Leafield team and to finish 17th overall. As Jules Bianchi led Marussia companion Max Chilton home in 19th and 20th positions, Van der Garde finished 21st and last. Esteban Gutierrez started last, collected some debris on the opening lap, but made up some places to finish 18th for the Sauber team.

The race extends Sebastian Vettel’s points score to 77, ten points ahead of Finish Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen on 67, while English Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is third on 50 from Spanish Scuderia Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso on 47. Australian Red Bull driver Mark Webber is fifth on 32 from Brazilian Scuderia Ferrari driver Felipe Massa on 30, French Lotus driver Romain Grosjean on 26, Scottish Force India pilot Paul Di Resta on 20, German Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg on 14 and English McLaren Mercedes Jenson Button on 13 points.

Red Bull have 109 points in the constructors’ championship, with Lotus second on 93 from Scuderia Ferrari on 77, Mercedes on 64, Force India fifth on 26 and McLaren Mercedes on 23

Manama (Bahrain) - Dubai - Cairo

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