Alonso wins on Ferrari debut

Spaniard takes Bahrain Grand Prix in a Ferrari one-two with Felipe Massa as Vettel fades.

Alonso secured a first win since 2008 with his new team [AFP]

Fernando Alonso won the Bahrain Grand Prix in his first drive for Ferrari as teammate Felipe Massa completed a one-two for the Italian team on his return from injury.

Sebastian Vettel had led from pole until lap 34 when an apparent exhaust problem saw him slip down to fourth as Red Bull’s crestfallen mechanics looked on.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton finished third on Sunday, with Nico Rosberg in fourth and Mercedes teammate Michael Schumacher fifth in his first Formula One race since he retired in 2006.

Twice world champion Alonso celebrated 25 points and a debut win by pounding his chest standing atop his F60, before hugging Massa, who was returning after his life-threatening head injury at the Hungarian Grand Prix last year.

‘Best team in the world’

“There is no better way to start the relationship,” said Spaniard Alonso after collecting the winner’s trophy in Manama.

“I am with the best team in the world.”

Brazilian Massa was overtaken by Alonso at the first corner and finished 16 seconds behind.

Bahrain Grand Prix result

1 F Alonso (ESP) Ferrari
2 F Massa (BRA) Ferrari
3 L Hamilton (GBR) McLaren
4 S Vettel (GER) RedBull
5 N Rosberg (GER) Mercedes
6 M Schumacher (GER) Mercedes
7 J Button (GBR) McLaren
8 M Webber (AUS) RedBull
9 V Liuzzi (ITA) Force India
10 R Barrichello (BRA) Williams
11 R Kubica (POL) Renault
12 A Sutil (GER) Force India
13 J Alguersuari (ESP) Toro Rosso
14 N Huelkenberg (GER) Williams
15 H Kovalainen (FIN) Lotus
16 J Trulli (ITA) Lotus
17 S Buemi (SUI) Toro Rosso 

Britain’s Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, completed the podium for McLaren, 23.1 behind Alonso, ahead of the 2009 runner-up Vettel’s limping vehicle.

“It’s a pity but what can you do. All in all it’s been positive all weekend apart from the failure,” said Vettel.

“Everything was running smoothly, but I lost power with about 20 laps to go, we are not sure what it was yet, but it wasn’t good.

“Luckily I could continue and finish fourth but we should have won really.”

Seven-times world champion Schumacher, making a comeback at the age of 41 and after three years away, said his race was as good as it could have been.

“Overtaking here is impossible and that is the action we are going to have with this environment of race strategy,” said the former Ferrari ace.

It was Alonso’s first triumph since he won the 2008 Japanese Grand Prix for Renault and he weaved his car jubilantly across the track as he approached the chequered flag without a rival in sight.

“We only won the first race but to come first and second is the result that all the guys at Maranello and at the track deserved,” he said.

“I am very optimistic for the rest of the season.”
Ferrari’s first one-two finish since France in June 2008 also ended a run of three wins in a row by Renault-powered Red Bull, last year’s overall runners-up.

With no refuelling allowed and after racing in searing temperatures at the newly-extended desert circuit, Alonso collected 25 points for the win under a scoring system that now rewards the top 10 finishers.

Button seventh

In a race low on thrills and spills and with little overtaking as cars burned through their heavy fuel loads, world champion Jenson Button made a faltering start to the defence of his title with seventh place on his McLaren debut.

Vitantonio Liuzzi finished ninth with Force India, with Red Bull’s Mark Webber ninth and Rubens Barrichello 10th in the Williams.

Malaysian-owned Lotus, their exalted name returning to the sport after a 16-year absence, proved to be the best of the three all-new teams and the only ones with a car still running at the finish.

Lotus racer Heikki Kovalainen was 15th, two laps down, and Italian Jarno Trulli 17th and last of those classified.

“What an amazing day. Lotus is back,” said team boss Tony Fernandes.

India’s Karun Chandhok retired on the second lap on his debut for the Hispania (HRT) team while Brazilian teammate Bruno Senna retired on the 19th.

Source: Al Jazeera


More from Sports
Most Read