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Bahrain race analysis - Ferrari off to a flier 15 Mar 2010

Ferrari celebrate a 1-2 finish for race winner Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari (Right) and Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari (Left).
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 14 March 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren celebrates his third position on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 14 March 2010 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB6 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 14 March 2010 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 14 March 2010 Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Force India F1 VJM03 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 14 March 2010

After spending the last two seasons in relatively uncompetitive machinery, there was a mix of relief and elation on Fernando Alonso’s face following his debut win with Ferrari on Sunday, having displayed at Sakhir the skills that made him a double world champion. Team mate Felipe Massa, in his first Grand Prix since life-threatening injury last July, was not complaining either as he ensured a one-two for the Scuderia, who left McLaren, Red Bull and Mercedes firmly in the shade. We take a team-by-team look at the opening round of 2010...

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, P1
Felipe Massa, P2

Alonso went round the outside of Massa in Turn One, but could not match Vettel’s lightning pace on the super-soft Bridgestones. Once they had both switched to the harder compound, however, the Spaniard went faster. When Vettel’s car hit trouble he emerged an easy winner, getting his Ferrari career off to the perfect start. Massa followed Alonso past Vettel, but had already been experiencing high engine temperatures which obliged him to keep adjusting his fuel mixture back and forth to keep the motor cool yet ensure that he didn’t run out of fuel. With a one-two, Ferrari scooped 43 points, more than twice as many as McLaren.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, P4
Mark Webber, P8

Vettel made a fabulous start and had no trouble from the Ferraris until the first tyre stops had been made. Initially it was then thought that an exhaust had cracked, but it transpired that a faulty spark plug was responsible for the loss of pace that let first Alonso, then Massa and Hamilton past the stricken Red Bull. Meanwhile, Webber’s car spouted oil smoke at the start but it was just the result of an over-full tank and suffered no ill effects. However, he was trapped in the upper midfield dice with Schumacher and Button, who jumped him during the tyre stops, and said that he struggled to stay in the traffic jam, en route to a disappointing eighth.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, P3
Jenson Button, P7

Hamilton lost his chance of an eventual second place when he braked too late for Turn Four on the opening lap and slipped behind Rosberg, who thereafter held him up until McLaren got the 2008 champion ahead in the tyre stop. He then went pretty quickly on the harder rubber, prompting McLaren engineers to think that they messed up the sector two set-up on their cars in qualifying. Button was never in the hunt for the podium, but made up a place on Webber during his tyre stop, and finished seventh right on Schumacher’s tail. McLaren gathered 21 points for their afternoon.

Mercedes GP
Nico Rosberg, P5
Michael Schumacher, P6

Mercedes lacked ultimate race pace, and neither Rosberg nor Schumacher could really challenge. The younger German held up Hamilton early on and got jumped by him at the pit stop, then closed right in on Vettel at the end but could not find a way past. On his return to F1 racing Schumacher couldn’t match his compatriot, but never made the slightest mistake that Button could have capitalised on.

Force India
Vitantonio Liuzzi, P9
Adrian Sutil, P12

Liuzzi made a great start and, despite the failure of his adjustable front wing and the resultant understeer, managed his tyres superbly in the opening stint and then ran swiftly on the super-softs in the second half. He deserved his two points for ninth after a smooth run. Sutil ruined his own race by clobbering Kubica in the second corner and spinning, but later made some amends by setting second fastest lap to show the potential of the VJM03.

Williams
Rubens Barrichello, P10
Nico Hulkenberg, P14

Williams lacked the pace they had expected, and Barrichello was able to do nothing about Liuzzi’s Force India ahead on his way to the final championship point. Hulkenberg lost places in the first lap melee, then spun in the middle sector after going over a kerb. Thereafter he fought his way back past the newcomers to a disappointing 14th.

Renault
Robert Kubica, P11
Vitaly Petrov, Retired lap 13, suspension damage

As Kubica was spun in the first corner by Sutil, Petrov benefited and ran a promising 11th initially until a trip over the kerb in Turn 12 damaged the right front suspension sufficiently to force retirement. Kubica fought back up the field, and said that the R30 felt pretty good, but the chance for points had long gone.

Toro Rosso
Jaime Alguersuari, P13
Sebastien Buemi, P16

Alguersuari showed well against his more experienced team mate, and they were among the last to stop for tyres. Unfortunately for the Swiss driver, his car stopped with an electrical problem.

Lotus
Heikki Kovalainen, P15
Jarno Trulli, P17

Lotus emerged as the most reliable new team, and Kovalainen had a trouble-free run even if he could not hold off the Virgin when Glock challenged. Trulli, however, was troubled by hydraulic problems which stoped him before the end, as he was trying to creep home.

BMW Sauber
Pedro de la Rosa, Retired lap 29, hydraulics
Kamui Kobayashi, Retired lap 12, hydraulics

The BMW Saubers lacked race pace, and after they had run in the midfield Kobayashi retired first with an hydraulic problem, followed by De la Rosa 17 laps later with the same thing.

Virgin
Timo Glock, Retired lap 19, gear selection
Lucas di Grassi, Retired lap 3, hydraulics

Glock showed that the Virgin has the best race pace out of the new cars, after he caught and passed Kovalainen’s Lotus after a good scrap. Unfortunately, the VR-01 wasn’t reliable and suffered loss of third gear and then fifth. Di Grassi’s example, meanwhile, retired with hydraulic problems after two laps.

HRT
Bruno Senna, Retired lap 18, water leak
Karun Chandhok, Retired lap 2, accident

Intent on avoiding a first corner shunt both cars were started from the pit lane. Chandhok’s F1 debut lasted only a lap before one of the bumps in sector two caught him out and he spun into retirement. Senna ran at the back until a broken water clip let a radiator leak out all the coolant, forcing him out after 18 laps.