Alonso heads one-two on Ferrari debut

2010 Bahrain Grand Prix review

Fernando Alonso got his Ferrari career off to the perfect start

Fernando Alonso got his Ferrari career off to the perfect start

Fernando Alonso won the Bahrain Grand Prix on his first appearance for Ferrari.

He took the lead from pole sitter Sebastian Vettel, who was struck by an exhaust failure while leading.

Felipe Massa followed his team mate home in second place giving Ferrari a one-two finish in the first race of the season.

Alonso began the race behind his team mate but passed him on the run to the first corner, leaving him perfectly placed to profit from Vettel’s problem.

Lewis Hamilton completed the podium for McLaren after losing time behind Nico Rosberg early in the race. An early pit stop allowed him to easily jump the Mercedes for fourth before taking third from Vettel.

Vettel slipped back into the clutches of Rosberg in the dying laps of the race but managed to get his car home in fourth before pulling to a halt.

Michael Schumacher’s comeback drive was a quiet run to sixth behind his team mate. Jenson Button and Mark Webber caught him towards the end of the race but neither were able to pass.

Vitantonio Liuzzi and Rubens Barrichello became the first drivers in F1 history to score points for ninth and tenth.

Of the new runners, neither of the HRT or Virgin cars finished their first race. Lotus got both of their cars home in the last two places, though Trulli was coping with an hydraulic problem.

2010 Bahrain Grand Prix

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156 comments on Alonso heads one-two on Ferrari debut

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  1. Nixon said on 14th March 2010, 14:25

    Great article Kieth. Glad that Alonso won. But really whats up with HRT, i mean why were they so far behind? Why didn’t they finish the race?

    • Are you joking?

      • Jarred Walmsley said on 14th March 2010, 17:57

        I think what he’s asking is what is the specific issue that caused the retirements. If not then I have to ask did you follow preseason testing/practice/qualifying at all, because surely that would have answered your question

    • Mclaren said on 14th March 2010, 18:25

      stick a modern gp2 car next to HRT and youwould have yourself a close batte. Stick an average f1 car next to HRT and it is just a case of when Senna will see that car in his mirrors about to lap him. Its crazy and when your look at the ‘slowish’ pace of lotus and virgin against the painful pace of HRK it does make you wonder why they entered in the first place. Am i right?

  2. Feel bad for Vettel.

    But overall (IMO) we’ve seen very clearly in this race how the rest of the season will pan out re. Alonso & Massa, Hamiltion & Button etc.

    I think Shumi did well for an OAP, and will push Nico as the season progresses!

    I think we’ll see some interesting wars of attrition later in the season with tyre strategy, and I have to wonder what the teams will settle on for pit stop strategy.

    Perhaps some badly shod cars at the end of races may lead to some overtaking.

    I wish Williams break would break with FOTA and stick their KERS in their car so we can see what that might do.

    I don’t see any improvement in overtaking this year except perhaps when tyres go off at the end of stints when teams have made mistakes / drivers have pushed too hard.

  3. BasCB said on 14th March 2010, 14:28

    Well i did predict the winner, but i did not expect hamilton to make the podium and expected Webber and Button to do better.

  4. Todfod said on 14th March 2010, 14:30

    It was a pity that Vettel got unlucky with reliability issues again. However, for Alonso fans like myself, it was good to see him back on the top step of the podium.

    Kimi won his first race with Ferrari, and then went on to win that season…. lets hope it works for Alonso as well.

  5. Good start for the Ferrari. But a bit disappointed at the lack of fight from McLaren and Merc…maybe its just this circuit…but I hope for a 4 team fight for the titles.

  6. antizyklon said on 14th March 2010, 14:34

    The last two times (2005 and 2006) Alonso won un Bahrain, also won the championship… :)

    • Since 2005 the winner of the first race has won the championship too..

      • profesor said on 14th March 2010, 15:22

        since 2004 mate

      • In 2005 Fisichella won the first race but Alonso won the title. So it’s actually since 2006. ;)

        • steph said on 14th March 2010, 15:49

          Correct Andy.
          If you go further back it’s something like 12 winners of the first race in 14 seasons or 10 out of 12 or whatever have won the title…only I can’t remember specific numbers :P It’s in a mag somewhere may dig it out :P

          • Aoxomoxoa said on 14th March 2010, 18:30

            Actually 85% of the time, the winner of the first race has gone on to win the championship. Thats an insane statistic right?

            This is the Scuderia year…

  7. theviewingfoot said on 14th March 2010, 14:35

    Cool article, i think the teams are going to learn a lot about from this race which could well mean better racing next time round… these new changes aren’t going to improve the show over night.

    • Salty said on 15th March 2010, 0:25

      Hoping so Foot, but we need to understand that points really do literally translate into money from TV revenue in F1. Maybe that bias compounds the problems of risking a more left-field strategy in F1.

      With engine usage restriction of 8 per season, gearbox change penalties and limited testing of 15 days pre-season, none in season – pls correct if wrong guys, there isn’t much stimulous for the teams to ‘push’. Conservation seems much more the theme. And let’s be honest, ‘conservation’ and ‘F1′ are not natural bed mates.

      The show suffered today. Unless the show was meant to look like a parade. Sponsors might be pleased that the all new slower F1 allows better photo opportunities for their logos, but really, F1 needs to do better.

  8. Gustav said on 14th March 2010, 14:39

    Statistics are only there to be changed ;). I predict Vettel will become champion if they fix those engine problems, otherwise Alonso will take it. It was embarrassing to see how slow Button is compared to Hamilton…

  9. Fer no.65 said on 14th March 2010, 14:39

    dammit Sebastian!…

    i predicted you as pole sitter and winner!…

    glad you still made it to the top 5… i also predicted a Vettel-Massa-Alonso podium… almost got it spot on…

  10. marc said on 14th March 2010, 14:42

    Its all to preserve tires, the top 10 have to start the race on the same tires they set their quali lap on, so they try and keep as much life in the tires as possible.
    I hate that rule though, its useless and makes Q3 quite boring. Vettel just did one lap and clinched pole. To preserve tires, no one else bothered to fight either.
    Sutil settled for a 10th on the harder compound to carry an advantage to the race, which, if not for the lame rule, could have been swapped for super-softs and a better grid position.

  11. feel sorry for vettel, it was shaping up to be a good finish until that happened. Wasn’t a bad race but wasn’t great either. The Bahrain circuit is definetly one of the more boring circuits

  12. Great drive from Vettel he was really unlucky but did such a good job to keep 4th place. Was really looking forward to a great battle between him and the two Ferrari’s such a shame it never happened :(

    One positive as a Vettel and Hamilton fan though is that they haven’t shredded the tyres like expected but what is annoying is that we don’t have any major random tyre strategies like we expected.

    Hopefully we’ll get better racing at a much much much MUCH better track – Melbourne

  13. Pity regulation changes didn’t materialise, it was quite a processional race. There are clear signs that Ferrari and Red Bull will fight for the championship. But Vettel won’t win constructors championship alone, so Webber must raise his game, because he didn’t look good at all today and was miles from Vettel. If it continues, Webber can lose his seat at the team and be replaced by other driver (hope Kimi), cause the car is clearly a race winner.

  14. bwells said on 14th March 2010, 14:49

    A great race and an amazing win for Fernando.. let’s hope this slows down the Alonzo haters a bit… yes it’s early but he looks good in that car.. :)

    • profesor said on 14th March 2010, 15:26

      I don’t see anything amazing the win was handed to him he didn’t won

      • Carl27 said on 14th March 2010, 15:37

        just like LH 2008 championship…no?

      • Kapikua said on 14th March 2010, 15:45

        Sour grapes!!! Now that Alonso drives a ferrari we shall see good results…he is an excellent driver!!! Massa had the same car and finished 16 seconds behind…why would that be. I will be enjoying myself this year…a lot!!!

        • steph said on 14th March 2010, 15:47

          Because Massa was nursing his car back with a few problems. Alonso was clever, had great pace but he didn’t destroy Massa today at all.

          • Carl27 said on 14th March 2010, 21:23

            Maybe FA didn’t destroy FM but overtook him in the first corner and that was enough. Alonso will always take any chance and he is consistent; a serious candidate.

          • Jonathan said on 15th March 2010, 9:27

            Massa really messed up the first corner. He is at least as fast as Alonso but his racecraft still needs some work.

          • Massa does this at the start quite a lot. He is so focussed on trying to shaft his team mate when they are next to each other on the grid that he compromises his race start.

            I also have severe doubts that he had the speed or the race craft to actually pass Vettel, had Vettel not had a problem.

            Alonso, on the other hand, was able to challenge before Vettel had the problem, and I believe would have passed him anyway.

            Disclosure : I am not supporting any driver particularly this year. And I am definitely not an Alonso fan. But I do respect his race craft – particularly after his recent years in the “wilderness” with Renault.

        • RandomChimp said on 14th March 2010, 15:56

          He was having overheating issues, probably induced by tailing Alonso for the entire race.

          • Jay Menon said on 15th March 2010, 0:33

            Alonso would have caught up and passed Vettel even if the exhaust didnt fail.

            In the post race conference, it was obvious that Alonso was just bidding his time and he had the pace in his pocket as he put it. This is how races will be won this year, drivers who can push when the time is right while putting in consistent lap times to keep in touch with the guy in front.

            Great drive from Vettel. I love Vettel, I think he’s great, but he will require a little bit more fine tuning before he’s to take the title, its going to be Alonso’s this year.

            Yes, its premature to say this, but Ferrari seem to be very conident they have the pace in the pocket and I feel that they havent pushed to their total limit yet!

            FORZA ALONSO!

  15. Mouse_Nightshirt said on 14th March 2010, 14:50

    Congratulations to Alonso, but I can’t help feeling gutted for Vettel. Easily was his race.

    Mind, I’ve started the timer as to when Alonso claims he brought 6 tenths to Ferrari!

    • Well then:
      Alonso trashes Massa
      Hamilton trashes Button
      Rosberg just about beat Schumacher
      Vettel still beat Webber despite losing horsepower.

      If Red Bull can sort out their reliability, then it will be Alonso vs Vettel for the championship. I really hope McLaren get up to speed soon so Hamilton can be in the mix too.

      • Herbie said on 14th March 2010, 15:43

        i wouldnt have said Alonso trashed Massa, Massa had an issue with his car towards the end, hence the lack of pace compared to alonso. I agree with the rest though

        • Kapikua said on 14th March 2010, 15:47

          The problem being what? They have the same car…just different driver. Oh, yeah…Alonso is better driver. :)

          • Skett said on 14th March 2010, 16:10

            I don’t doubt that Alonso is a better driver but Massa clearly had an issue towards the end

          • steph said on 14th March 2010, 16:19

            Massa had temperature issues, flu and fuel issues. It’s one race. Alonso is the better driver in my opinion but it’s a long seasonn and it’s premature and not wise to disregard Felipe now especially if he ends up beating Alonso

          • claudio said on 14th March 2010, 21:37

            So, could you explain why Massa was 0.366s faster in the qualifying? They had then different cars?
            The race, as usual, was decided during the qualifying + turn one + reliability.

      • steph said on 14th March 2010, 15:51

        Vettel was stunning but Webber’s weekend was pretty much over after qualifying. Agree with Herbie too

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