Normal transmission was resumed in Bahrain with Sebastian Vettel claiming his first win of the season for Red Bull Racing.
Like China the week before, there were new names at the top of the result sheet as Lotus Renault announced itself as a genuine front runner. Kimi Raikkonen claimed a strong second and at times threatened a race win. Behind him teammate Romain Grosjean claimed the final spot on the podium.
It was a welcome relief for Vettel, who with the win moved to the top of the points standings “It was an incredible race, extremely tough. A good start was crucial and I was able to pull away from the pack, which was a big advantage as we always had to go on scrubbed tyres due to the fact we had used almost all of them in qualifying yesterday. Kimi was very quick and so was Grosjean.
"But everything seemed to work well today; strategy was good and I can only say a big thank you to the whole team and the guys in the garage. I said it yesterday, but they have done an incredible job over the last four races, the amount of work they had to do was so much.
"We asked them for this and for that, for tweaks here and there and they came with new parts, then old parts, then news parts again, back and forth and spent a lot of time in the garage trying to get the car to our liking. But we got there.
"I was very happy with qualifying today and all throughout the race. Kimi was fast today and it was close, but I am extremely happy and very proud of the team.”
Kimi who has settled back into the world of F1 as if he never left, felt he had one shot at taking the lead late in the race “It’s a great result for the team and we deserve it as everyone has been working very hard. To be honest, I’m slightly disappointed we didn’t take the win because we had the pace. I only had one chance to overtake Sebastian (Vettel) and unfortunately I chose the wrong side to try and get past.
"If I hadn’t made a small mistake at the start and allowed Felipe (Massa) to get through then maybe it would have been a different story, as we spent quite a lot of time fighting with him. At the end of the day, it’s good to have both cars on the podium, especially after last race which didn’t go to plan, but I honestly think we could have taken the victory today.”
With Mark Webber taking fourth place again, Renault powered cars held down the first 4 spots on the timesheets.
Webber felt he didn't have the pace of the front runners and a KERS issue hampered him early “It wasn’t a bad start. I didn’t have KERS for the first lap, so it was difficult to put pressure on Lewis, but then I got it back. In the first two stints, I couldn’t stay with those guys – the two Lotus’ and Seb – so I had to consolidate from there.
"Lotus has a tidy car and when everything comes together, it works well – they did a good job today and it shows how tight the Championship is; there have been four different winners.
"I got some good points today and both drivers and Red Bull Racing are doing well in the Championships. It wasn’t the most exciting race for me, but it’s been a good start to the Championship. I’m looking forward to getting back to racing in Europe.”
Last start winner Nico Rosberg could not recapture the pace of China a week earlier and came home 5th ahead of the impressive Paul Di Resta of Force India.
Rosberg is also to be investigated over two aggressive moves in his battles with Hamilton and Alonso. The Hamilton move forced the Brit from the track, though he was still able to pull off the pass.
Given the security issues the Force India team faced earlier in the weekend it was a welcome reward for their courage in staying at the event.
Di Resta who ran a 2 stop race was on fading tyres late in the race and had to fend off Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari in the last turn.
It was a disappointing day for McLaren with Lewis Hamilton ending the day in 8th place. The Brit was again the victim of 2 bungled pitstops in the race following similar incidents in China.
Jenson Button suffered a late punture and ended in a very lowly 18th place.
Rounding out the point scoring positions were Felipe Massa in his best showing in the Ferrari and Michael Schumacher. Schumacher had recovered from his starting position of 22nd in a strong drive.
The day had started with much promise for Daniel Ricciardo following his impressive Qualifying result of 6th on the Saturday. A poor start however saw the young Australian drop 10 places on the opening lap and front end wing damage forced a early pit stop.
From there he never really recovered and had to settle for 15th place behind his teammate Jean-Éric Vergne .
Ricciardo was understandably disappointed post race “That was not what I was hoping for after starting from sixth on the grid. The opening lap changed my whole race. My initial launch off the line wasn’t great and after that I seemed to go backwards, which made for a very frustrating afternoon. The front wing damage also made matters worse.
"I had a good chance to have a strong race today, but losing all those places at the start cost me dear. I need to be hard on myself now and find out what I did wrong to make sure I don’t do it again. It was a race to forget.”
1 S Vettel Red Bull Racing
2 K Raikkonen Lotus Renault
3 R Grosjean Lotus Renault
4 M Webber Red Bull Racing
5 N Rosberg Mercedes
6 P Di Resta Force India
7 F Alonso Ferrari
8 L Hamilton McLaren Mercedes
9 F Massa Ferrari
10 M Schumacher Mercedes
15 D Ricciardo Toro Rosso
1 S Vettel 53 Points
2 L Hamilton 49 pts
3 M Webber 48 pts
4 J Button 43 pts
5 F Alonso 43 pts
1 Red Bull Racing 101 Points
2 McLaren-Mercedes 92 pts
3 Lotus-Renault 57 pts
4 Ferrari 45 pts
5 Mercedes 37 pts