• Bahrain Grand Prix

Vettel eases to victory at action-packed Bahrain GP

ESPN Staff
April 21, 2013
Sebastian Vettel crosses the line for his second win of the season © Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel dominated an action-packed Bahrain Grand Prix to take his second victory of the season with Kimi Raikkonen second and Romain Grosjean third.

Vettel was involved in a tense battle with Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg at the start of the race, but once he emerged in the lead from the exit of turn four on lap three he looked unbeatable. Alonso looked likely to be his closest rival but his race was ruined when his DRS flap stuck open on lap five. He had to make an early pit stop to fix it but the problem emerged again the next time he used it and he pitted once more, dropping to 17th on lap nine. Impressively he managed to fight back to eighth without the use of DRS to limit the damage to his championship challenge.

Raikkonen filled the void behind Vettel by expertly managing a two-stop strategy on a day when the likes of Rosberg and Jenson Button had to make four stops. Romain Grosjean also made use of the Lotus' strong tyre management to join his team-mate on the podium, running a three-stop strategy that gave him fresher tyres to attack at the end of the race.

Force India's Paul di Resta lost out on a podium as a result of Grosjean's late push and after an accomplished drive on a two-stop strategy had to settle for fourth. Lewis Hamilton recovered from his grid penalty to finish fifth but had a tight battle with Mark Webber in the closing laps as the two traded position while trying to limit tyre wear. Webber ultimately lost out and on the final lap conceded another position to McLaren's Sergio Perez, who put in a very bullish performance that included running Alonso onto the gravel and contact with team-mate Button.

Behind Alonso in eighth, the four-stop strategies for Rosberg and Button left them ninth and tenth. Rosberg attempted to hold his own at the start of the race but shed positions with every pit stop and with his final stop for new tyres dropped out of contention for decent points despite starting from pole position. It was a similar story for Button who ran as high as third at one point but had to make four stops too. He may also want words with team-mate Perez after the two became embroiled in a no-holds-barred battle that will have done nothing to help his marginal tyre situation.

Pastor Maldonado finished just outside the points ahead of Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg, while Adrian Sutil, Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa came home 13th, 14th and 15th. Sutil and Massa collided at the start of the race, forcing the Force India to pit immediately while Massa nursed front wing damage throughout the race. He also suffered two rear tyre problems, bringing his pit stop count to four by the end of the race and dropping out of the points.

Jean-Eric Vergne was the only driver not to make the end of the race after a collision early in the race caused irreparable damage that eventually forced him to retire.

Nico Rosberg led from pole at the start but soon went backwards © Getty Images