Hello and welcome to ESPNF1's live coverage of the Bahrain Grand Prix. There's a storm brewing around the circuit at Sakhir, and while you may think I'm speaking metaphorically, it's actual rain! We've had a few drops in the last hour or so and some dark clouds remain in the vicinity.

It's not falling any longer (bar the odd spot), and the high track temperature meant that it had no effect on the track surface for now, but the track temperature is lower than we've seen across most of this weekend

The pit lane is open and cars are heading to the grid. For those who may have missed qualifying, the report as Sebastian Vettel took pole position is available here

An overnight development is that Michael Schumacher has had to change his gearbox and will take a five-place grid penalty. He starts 22nd now, with only Glock and Karthikeyan behind him

If you want to get in touch with us during the race then you can do via email using the link above or you can tweet us @ESPNF1

One of the key aspects of this race is going to be tyre usage. The high track temperatures coupled with a number of slow and medium speed corners put an emphasis on traction from the rears. We're looking at a three-stop race at least here today, and that means a lot of opportunities to be running more quickly at different times of the race due to strategy

Marc in New South Wales emails in: "I was just thinking, what would be the chances of having 2 Aussies on the podium, it has never happened before, and then I thought no way, but now that you mention there could be a storm, anything is possible!"

The team principals are now saying that the rain doesn't look like having any influence on the race, and the few drops have now stopped. Regardless, Ricciardo was very quick yesterday and did a great job to qualify in sixth place while Webber starts third. The one word of warning I'll give is that Ricciardo has much fewer fresh tyres available to him than some of those behind, so solid points would still be an impressive result

One driver I'm keen to keep an eye on today is Kimi Raikkonen, who missed out on Q3 but then has plenty of new tyres available to him and can choose which set to start on. Schumacher should also be fun to watch coming through from the back

And here's the challenge that awaits the teams today:

© Sutton Images

Siddhesh emails in to ask: "What advantage does a new gearbox give to a driver over others? Why does it incur a penalty?"

It doesn't actually give a notable advantage Siddhesh, the rule is designed to ensure costs are kept down by stopping teams having a new gearbox at every race. A gearbox has to last four races (though different ones can be used during practice). The emphasis is on reliability that way, so when a gearbox proves unreliable a change is penalised.

In our story about Schumacher's gearbox penalty earlier we did speculate whether he may start from the pit lane, but he's on the grid and will definitely start from 22nd place.

Henry emails in: "Hi, thanks for doing a great job. Any predictions ???"

True to form I will stick my neck out with every possibility of getting it very wrong, but having tipped Jenson Button to win in the preview, I'm switching to Rosberg for victory after a flying start

As we head off on the formation lap we've only got Kobayashi on medium tyres. The rest of the field is on softs even though a number of drivers such as Alonso, di Resta and Raikkonen could have chosen whichever tyre they wished

Vettel is out of the final corner and leading the field down to the grid. Turn one is a tight one and could see some contact...

Karthikeyan pulls in to his slot to complete the grid after a short wait. The green flag is waved at the back and the red lights come on....

Lap 1

Good start from Vettel and Hamilton, while Webber retains his third place from a fast-starting Grosjean. Alonso with a brilliant start up to fifth ahead of Button and Raikkonen. Vettel is flying and leads by 2.2s at the end of the first lap

Lap 2

Shocking start for Rosberg down to ninth behind Massa, and Ricciardo all the way back to 16th. Kovalainen had to pit adter a puncture. Senna with a good start up to 11th while Maldonado and Schumacher are moving through the field

Lap 3

Raikkonen had a bad exit of the final corner and Massa gets a run on him over the line to start lap three. They go wheel-to-wheel in to turn one and Massa muscles through in to seventh. Impressive stuff.

Vettel is streaking away, he's 2.9s ahead of Hamilton. Grosjean looks strong right now

Lap 4

DRS is enabled and I said Grosjean looks strong - he uses DRS to pass Webber for third place. He's the fastest man out there on this lap and takes half a second out of Hamilton in second

Lap 5

Raikkonen and Massa still going at it and Kimi gets the better drive out of turn four to get up the inside before turn five. Back up to seventh for the Lotus. Grosjean still on the move though, less than a second behind Hamilton already

Lap 6

Vettel's lead at the end of lap five is 4.5s. He's comfortably quicker than Hamilton, and only Grosjean and Raikkonen seem to have the pace to challenge him right now.

We're seeing the Force India's on screen today, and di Resta has held station in 10th place. Hulkenberg's gone backwards to 19th though. A mention for Petrov in the Caterham too, keeping pace with the midfield runners in 18th

Lap 7

Grosjean uses DRS and passes Hamilton in to turn one. Mirror image further back as Raikkonen does the same to Button in to turn four

Lap 8

Grosjean takes 0.3s out of Vettel's lead on that lap. It's 4.9s now. Raikkonen straight on the back of Alonso after passing Button. Alonso locking up a lot at present

Ricciardo pits for medium tyres and a new front wing

Lap 9

Vettel responds to Grosjean's threat and pegs the gap. Raikkonen passes Alonso for fifth using DRS.

McLaren struggling with rear tyres and Button pits, as does Rosberg and Massa. Medium tyres for Button and Massa but Rosberg on softs and out ahead of Massa.

Webber close behind Hamilton who could do with some new tyres...in he comes, followed by Webber so a straight fight in the pit lane. Alonso in too. A slow stop for Hamilton! You could see it coming, somehow, and Webber and Alonso are ahead

Lap 10

Alonso comes out alongside Button and holds on. Hamilton rejoins by Rosberg and loses out in turn three but gets a better run on the Mercedes. Rosberg pushes him a long way off the track but Hamilton keeps his foot planted and is through!

Lap 11

Hamilton and Rosberg are under investigation by the stewards. Grosjean has pitted for mediums, while Vettel now pits too. Raikkonen also in

Lap 12

Di Resta is yet to pit and now leads. Kobayashi is between Vettel and Grosjean as Perez sets the fastest lap.

Button gets past Alonso in to turn five with a good move, he's up to eighth now.

Rosberg complains that Hamilton passed him off the track. I don't think that's in question, but it's only because Rosberg crowded him out

Lap 13

Vettel retakes the lead from di Resta using DRS in to turn one. Grosjean has passed Kobayashi though and the gap was down to 4.2s at the line.

Hamilton and Alonso scrapping over eighth, as Raikkonen passes Webber under braking for turn 11 - he's using those new tyres to good effect as Kimi's on softs

Lap 14

Vettel with the fastest lap just to pull the gap out to Grosjean to 4.7s. Raikkonen is 0.3s off the lead.

Hamilton dives down the inside of Alonso in to turn four for eighth place. Di Resta and Kobayashi yet to pit in 2nd and 4th. Force India mechanics out in the pit lane, and di Resta yields to Grosjean in the final corner before pitting

Lap 15

Raikkonen in clear air sets the fastest lap, he takes 0.7s out of Vettel and is now 8.7s back.

Kobayashi has pitted too, so everyone back in sequence and it's Vettel, Grosjean, Raikkonen, Webber, Button, Hamilton, Alonso, Rosberg, Massa

Lap 16

Raikkonen is really on it right now. Another fastest lap, and another 0.6s out of Vettel. Grosjean was also 0.2s quicker than the leader on that last lap. 8.2s cover the top three. My prediction from earlier looks pretty stupid now!

Hulkenberg passes Senna for 14th. Maldonado making good progress up to 11th now

Lap 17

Vettel's lead is being chipped away by the Lotus pair. Grosjean now five seconds behind and Raikkonen 7.7s off the lead

Lap 18

Vettel edges away from Grosjean but Raikkonen continues to close. 2.2s between the Lotus cars. Webber is now 13.5s off the lead in fourth place, 2.4s ahead of Button and 4 ahead of Hamilton. All running at a similar pace

Lap 19

Massa is dropping away a touch from Rosberg in eighth place. Di Resta is hunting down Maldonado for 11th and the Force India looks to be on a two-stop strategy - he's just gone on the radio to say "Maldonado is weaving all over the place". Could be a two stopper for Hamilton now as he's been told that McLaren is switching to "Plan B"

Lap 20

Raikkonen now 6.8s off the lead. It will be interesting to see how long he can run on these soft tyres and if Grosjean will let him through easily.

The Hamilton and Rosberg incident will be investigated after the race

Lap 21

A second between Grosjean and Raikkonen - big decisions to be made at Lotus.

Great racing for tenth as Di Resta, Maldonado and Perez go three abreast through turn four. Di Resta comes out ahead, with Maldonado 11th and Perez 12th. The Williams and Sauber were scrapping and di Resta dived up the inside on the exit to pass them both

Lap 22

Raikkonen now 6.1s off the lead in third place. Di Resta is flying and already on the back of Massa in the battle for ninth place.

Button pits at the end of the lap from fifth place. He's on medium tyres again, and Rosberg now on mediums. In comes Massa and he puts on softs

Lap 23

Raikkonen is 0.5s behind Grosjean and just lost a bit of time to Vettel. The gap now 6.7s

Lap 24

Raikkonen passes Grosjean using DRS in to turn one. Let's see how he gets on in clear air again.

A lot of pit stops going on and ANOTHER problem for Hamilton! 12.2s, twice in a row his left rear has been slow and he's lost out big time. Alonso and Webber also pit but Alonso has lost out to Rosberg

Lap 25

Raikkonen pits for medium tyres. Alonso and Rosberg battling and Rosberg again pushes the other car off the track on the run down to turn four

Lap 26

Vettel and Grosjean pit and Raikkonen is much closer to Vettel. He's flying as Hamilton sets the fastest lap

Lap 27

Replays show Maldonado spinning at turn three and he's got a bad puncture on the left rear. Massa close behind Alonso for ninth right now and Hamilton closing them down.

The gap between Vettel and Raikkonen now just 2.2s. Di Resta fourth on his two-stop strategy as Maldonado retires

Lap 28

Vettel sets a fastest lap but can't pull away - Raikkonen matches it. Grosjean now seven seconds behind the battle.

Alonso and Rosberg's incident will be investigated after the race, with Alonso moaning that he should have been left room

Lap 29

Di Resta has Webber close behind him in the fight for fourth and Webber uses DRS to pass in to turn one. Raikkonen closes the gap at the front to two seconds, while Pic has retired.

Hamilton can't make any impression on Massa, and asks if Massa is yet to stop for a second time. Negative, Lewis, that's just how much time you've lost in the pits

Lap 30

Gap at the front is down to 1.7s, and that's despite Vettel being on the soft tyre. Raikkonen in good shape here

Lap 31

Grosjean is now matching pace at the front but almost 10 seconds off the lead. Rosberg passes Kobayashi for seventh, with the Sauber yet to stop for a second time.

Massa is still behind Alonso and quicker than his team-mate, with Kobayashi ahead of them both

Lap 32

Raikkonen closes the gap to 1.4s at the front.

Kobayashi pits and Alonso follows him for a slip stream before diving out of the pit lane again. Pointless and dangerous if you ask me

Lap 33

We're finally seeing Raikkonen v Vettel because the gap is down to a second. Could be DRS available on this lap...

Button passes di Resta for fifth place

Lap 34

Raikkonen is within the magic second. He's already 0.2s up in the first sector.

Di Resta pits from sixth for his second and final stop. He's now on mediums for the third stint

Lap 35

Raikkonen jinks out to show Vettel where he is and gets very close in to turn one. This is what we wanted to see when Kimi returned. Grosjean is catching the pair of them now but still 9.3s off the lead

Webber is alons in fourth, 10 seconds behind Grosjean and 12s ahead of Button

Lap 36

The closing speed with DRS is incredible as Raikkonen gets right behind Vettel but Vettel defends the inside line in to turn one and holds on to the lead

Lap 37

Raikkonen looks to be lacking a little bit of traction right now, and Vettel is able to just keep enough of a gap out of each corner. Rosberg and Hamilton pit from seventh and ninth respectively

Lap 38

Grosjean suddenly fancies a bit of the battle at the front - he's 7.4s off the lead and gaining at half a second a lap.

Button and Alonso pit, with Alonso released a bit too close in front of a Sauber. Perez came in from eighth and had to ease off to make his pit box. On release, Schumacher beats Perez out of the pit lane

Lap 39

Massa pits from fifth and rejoins just behind Hamilton who has just set the fastest lap. Alonso under investigation for unsafe release and passes Kobayashi for ninth

Lap 40

Vettel and Raikkonen pit at the same time. Vettel retains the lead and his gap is up at 1.8s now. Both on mediums for the final stint. Hamilton right behind Kobayashi in a battle for ninth place

Lap 41

Grosjean pits from what was the lead and is back out in third place. Vettel leads by 2.2s. Hamilton uses DRS to dive up the inside of Kobayashi. Massa is right behind the Sauber now

Lap 42

Vettel with the fastest lap and he pulls out 0.8s over Raikkonen - the gap now 2.9s. Grosjean is 10.3s off the lead having stayed out a bit longer. It took Raikkonen a few laps at the start of the last stint to begin to eat in to Vettel's lead

Lap 43

The gap at the front is now 3.2s. Grosjean a tenth quicker than Vettel. Webber is a distant fourth and di Resta is fifth after his second stop. He's got a long way to go, but he has two seconds in hand over Rosberg and five seconds over Button

Lap 44

Vettel has settled down at the front and is 3.4s ahead of Raikkonen. Grosjean now 6.6s behind his team-mate. Button is suffering in seventh a little bit and has Alonso just edging towards him. The gap is 2.5s at present

Massa is tenth and 2.5s ahead of Kobayashi. Schumacher right behind the Sauber and looks quicker while Perez is in touch with that battle for 11th too

Lap 45

For the first time in this final stint Raikkonen takes some time out of Vettel. It's only 0.1s but could it be the start of a charge?

Schumacher passes Kobayashi by cutting underneath him on the exit of turn four. Perez passes his team-mate in to turn eight for 12th

Lap 46

Raikkonen is told over the radio that Vettel has worse degradation than the Lotus and that he will catch him. If that's right, he's still got to find a way past when he gets there though.

Perez is hustling Schumacher, but you feel this battle will only be for pride as Massa is pulling away from them both in 10th place

Lap 47

Kimi cuts the lead to 3.2s. Di Resta doing well so far in fifth place. He's kept the gap to Rosberg at 1.5s

Lap 48

A good lap for Raikkonen as Vettel has to lap Petrov. He slashes the gap by 0.6s, so it's just 2.6s now as we enter the final ten laps.

Button is gapping Alonso for seventh place. No real gains being made in the lower-points positions at the moment. Di Resta's tyres starting to go off in fifth though and Rosberg catching

Lap 49

Very similar laps from Rakkonen and Vettel this time around, the gap has just gone out to 2.8s. Kimi will need Vettel's tyres to go away soon if he's to win this race

Lap 50

Di Resta holds off Rosberg in to turn one. It only looks like a matter of time until the Mercedes finds its way past though.

Lap 51

A good lap for Vettel, the gap up to 3.4s. It looks like the Lotus is not able to hang on if it gets too close. Kobayashi has been forced to pit again from 15th as he was slipping back. The two stop strategy not working - not good news for di Resta, who is really holding Rosberg up now

Lap 52

Raikkonen making no impression on Vettel now. Rosberg dives up the inside of di Resta in to turn one - locking up as he goes - before defending up to turn four. Button has di Resta in his sights now. Hamilton has closed the gap to Alonso to less than a second in the battle for eighth

Lap 53

Button is within DRS-distance of di Resta at the start of this lap. Remember what happened to Raikkonen in China when his tyres went off - di Resta will be praying the same doesn't happen to him. He's reprieved though as Button has a puncture! Left rear, he pits and didn't lose too much time out on track but that's dropped him to 13th place

Lap 54

Raikkonen closes the gap to 3.1s with three laps remaining. Surely too little too late. After Button's problem di Resta has some breathing space - five seconds over Alonso.

Senna pits and retires as Button says his engine or exhaust sounds strange. Schumacher has been promoted to tenth place

Lap 55

As you were at the front. Alonso has pulled 1.3s ahead of Hamilton while Rosberg is told that he has a broken exhaust. Button comes back to the McLaren pit and retires

Lap 56

The closest battle on-track is between Perez and Schumacher for 10th - one second between them

Lap 57

Vettel begins his final lap and is cruising towards his first win of the season with Raikkonen 3.3s behind. It's been a really well judged race by Red Bull. Alonso catching di Resta now, the gap down to 0.8s for sixth place.

Vettel crosses the line to take victory and immediately stops the car at the pit exit. Raikkonen comes home second with Grosjean third - a great day for Lotus - and Webber makes it four fourths in a row.

Di Resta holds on for a quite brilliant sixth place on a two-stop strategy, Alonso just 0.2s behind him and Hamilton in eighth. Massa scores his first points in ninth place while Schumacher rounds out the top ten.

Vettel runs down the pit lane and salutes the crowd as he goes. It's worth remembering that Raikkonen started in 11th place, so second is still a fantastic drive even if it's a shame he couldn't challenge for victory. Grosjean and Raikkonen enjoy the adulation in parc ferme

Massa is stood by his car out on track - he's stopped too. Not many made it back to the pits today!

Christian Horner congratulates Raikkonen before heading out on to the podium. Red Bull got its strategy spot on today and Vettel delivered as we were used to seeing him last season

After Raikkonen, my drive of the day has to go to di Resta. Skipped FP2, used tyres to get in to Q3 and then put in a great performance to two-stop his way to sixth place just two seconds behind Rosberg.

There's a lot of crowd noise from the main grandstand. While we can question the morals behind being in Bahrain, it's certainly delivered another exciting race.

Trophies are raised on the podium and it's a hugely popular second place for Raikkonen. Schumacher still searches for his first podium after his return - it took Kimi just four races.

As the rose water is sprayed it's time to sign off. Four different race winners from four different teams from the opening four races of the season - what a year this is shaping up to be. Lotus has shown that it will be able to challenge for victories too. I don't know about you but I can't wait for the next race! Stick with ESPNF1.com for all the reaction to the race, thanks for joining us.