One-two finish for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro in the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso finished first on his race debut with the Prancing Horse, while Felipe Massa came second on his comeback after the accident in Budapest last year.

This is victory number 211 for the Scuderia from 794 Grand Prix starts, the fourth in the seven editions of this race.

For Fernando, it is win number twenty two from 141 Grand Prix starts, his third at the Sakhir circuit.

Stefano Domenicali said, “A fantastic start to the championship! This amazing one-two is just reward for all the work of the team, both at the track and the factory in Maranello, over these past few months and I dedicate the result to them.

Today, we had to manage a very complicated situation with Felipe’s car, because of the high temperatures, but we did it and I was very happy to see our driver on the podium on what was a very special day for him.

As for Fernando, what can I say? There could be no better way for him to start his adventure in red! I also want to thank our technical and commercial partners, first and foremost Philip Morris and Shell, who have always supported us, even in the most difficult times and I think there is no better way to also welcome on board a new important sponsor like the Santander Bank.

Now we can enjoy this wonderful day for a few hours, but as from tomorrow, we must start preparing for the next round in Australia, adopting our usual approach which involves keeping calm, with our feet on the ground and working hard.

We have a very long season ahead of us, in which reliability will be crucial, as indeed we saw yet again today and where we will be fighting very strong and determined adversaries.�

Fernando Alonso stated, “I want to dedicate this victory to President Montezemolo, who believed in me and to our mechanics who did a really great job, especially this morning, when they changed the engine on my car in a very short time.

Jumping onto the top step of the podium was a special feeling and I hope I have matched the expectations of the whole team. We worked so much this winter and now we are beginning to see the results of that. The first races of the season are very important: we must get to the European part of the year with a lot of points in the bag and a high level of understanding of how the tyres work at various types of track.

The key to winning will be to continue to develop the car race by race. Today, on the harder tyres, we went very well, but with the softer ones, I was struggling a bit to stay close to Vettel. I was planning to attack in the final ten laps, but luck gave me a hand: you always need a bit in every race.

At the start, I got away well, making the most of being on the clean side of the track and I managed to pass Felipe, going for a space that was big enough to pull off the move without any risk.

Then I was lucky not to have any problems with the car, while my team-mate had a more difficult time and had to ease up a bit. Now it’s time to think about Australia. We will see who has the best car at that track, but I think the four top teams will all be in the fight.�

On the other hand Felipe Massa commented, “I am very happy with this result and I want to thank all the team and our fans. It is my best opening race of a season since I started in Formula 1 and, given all the problems we had, I am very pleased.

We had to manage the temperatures on the car and, for around thirty laps, I was not able to push as hard as I could. At the start, I lost a place to Alonso, but then the car worked well with both types of tyre.

With the softer tyres, the Red Bull was quicker than us, but on the harder ones we were much better. I want to thank one more time all those who have been close to me over these past months, writing and sending me messages. Now we must look to Australia to be as well prepared as possible.�

Chris Dyer stated, “A fantastic result for the whole team. We worked so hard over the winter – in the wind tunnel, in the design office, the engine department, on track, everywhere –and today we reaped our reward.

It was a great welcome for Fernando and an equally nice welcome back for Felipe: it would be hard to have asked for more in the first race. It was not an easy weekend, because we had to tackle a whole series of problems which we controlled thanks to the efforts of everyone at the track and back home, but I really hope we have fewer of them in the future. Because of the high temperatures, we were not able to run the race we wanted, but especially with Felipe, we had to adopt a very conservative approach, although I don’t think we were the only ones faced with that particular difficulty.�

On third place came 2008 F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton on his MP4-25A-02, who started from 4th place today. Hamilton's fastest lap was 1m59.560s (4th fastest lap) and he came in to his only pitstop in lap 15, and which lasted only 4.9 seconds. With his third place Hamilton was able to score 15 points.

Vodafone Mclaren driver Hamilton stated, “Third place was a very strong result for us today. I feel that we did a good job: our reliability was great and the pace today was pretty good, but we still need to push very hard to close the gap to the cars in front.

My race was decided on the first lap when I locked up at Turn Four, ran a bit wide, got in a bad position and Nico [Rosberg] got past me. After that, I spent the whole first stint close behind him, but just couldn’t get close enough to pass him.

After the pitstop, the guys were able to get me out ahead of Nico – which was a fantastic job, thanks guys – and I had some clear air and was able to make up quite a bit of ground to Felipe [Massa]. If I hadn’t been sitting behind Nico, I think I might have been able to challenge Felipe for second place.

I had a slight vibration towards the end of the race, but I think it was just the result of a locked front wheel. When you’re pushing to close the gap, you lock the tyres just once and it takes several laps to get over the flat-spot. But it wasn’t a big problem.

It’s going to be difficult for us to close the performance gap immediately, but I think I’ll go back to the factory and give them the biggest push. I know they’re all pushing flat-out as it is, but we need to get some upgrades, and we need to bring as many of them forward as we possibly can.�

The other Vodafone Mclaren driver, 2009 F1 World Champion Jenson Button, started with his MP4-25A-03
from 8th position and finished at 7th position. His fastest lap was 1m59.970s (9th), while he had just one pitstop at lap 16, and which lasted 4.9 seconds. With his 7th place Button scored 6 points at the Bahrain race.

Jenson Button commented on his race, “At the start of the race, I didn’t know what was going to happen to my tyres so I took it a little easy. I was a bit disappointed that we pitted when we did, because I’d probably looked after the tyres a little too much – because, in the last five laps of the stint, I was able to push to catch Mark [Webber] and Michael [Schumacher].

At the stop, I jumped Mark, which was great. It was a really good pitstop from the guys – both for Lewis and myself actually, because we each jumped the car in front.

I then paced myself on the tyres until there were about 20 laps to go. I caught up with Michael, but didn’t have enough pace through the middle sector to stay with him and have a go at him in the last sector, which was disappointing. But it was fun all the same.

Overall, I think our car is pretty good at looking after its tyres, but there’s always room for improvement and I think everybody in the team wants more speed and more downforce.�

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team principal, Martin Whitmarsh stated, “Both Lewis and Jenson raced very well here in Bahrain this afternoon. After the disappointment of our qualifying performance yesterday, the fact that our race pace was strong today was extremely encouraging. In fact, in the last part of the race, Lewis’s was the fastest car on the track.

However, like Jenson, who got stuck in a queue of traffic early on, Lewis was a little delayed by Nico in the first few laps. As a result, neither of our drivers was able to show their true race pace until after their pitstops.

Happily, both our drivers benefited from excellent pit stops – Lewis got ahead of Nico and Jenson got ahead of Mark – so I want to take this opportunity to say �Well played’ to the team for calling both pitstops at the right time and executing them so efficiently.

Overall, then, we’re pretty happy with our haul of 21 world championship points today, and will now continue to develop our car on the back of this very promising first outing. Our aim is to be fully competitive in Australia.

Last but not least, the seventh Bahrain Grand Prix was, as expected, an impressively organised event. This year is the second time it has been the first grand prix of the year, and I’m sure that all who either took part in it or watched it will agree that it was a very worthy season-opener.�

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