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. Electrolite said on 14th March 2010, 22:33

    I think us lot should run F1.

  2. The Limit said on 14th March 2010, 22:40

    When the grands prix started I was reminded of Fernando Alonso’s comments from earlier in the weekend. When asked if it would be more difficult to drive the Ferrari on full fuel tanks the double world champion said no. ‘No, not more difficult, just slower. It will be like driving in slow motion’.
    It was, atleast to start with, like watching a slow motion replay but in real time. The majority of drivers were very cautious going into turn one, the overtaking was at best limited. The amazing thing was seeing Vettel set off and maintain a gap to the two Ferraris’ for as long as he did, though it cost him dearly in the end.
    The result for Alonso was perfect. For the last two and a half years we have debated to death his eventual move to Ferrari and the promise of success that represents. Now we are there, and the Spaniard did not disappoint.
    He is going to be the man to beat, but the rest are not that far off in terms of pace. The Red Bulls’, especially Vettel, are fast and deserved far more today than they achieved. Hamilton and McLaren did get the same lucky break as Alonso did, but had maintained good pace for most of the day. Hamilton’s quick laps on fresh hard compound tyres saw off Nico Rosberg, and is a far cry from the doggy McLaren of twelve months ago. So that, in terms of the championship, is promising.
    Alonso has been smiling like a Cheshire cat ever since he first drove the Ferrari. He knows that this car is a title winner, its up to the others to bridge the gap, and they will!

    • Jonathan said on 15th March 2010, 9:55

      That’s exactly what I thought. There was one point where I genuinely thought I was watching a slow-motion replay, and couldn’t understand why it didn’t say “replay” at the top of the screen!

  3. James said on 14th March 2010, 23:07

    Anyone who thought that this was a good opening round of this season is very easily pleased. Nothing good about it at all in my view, completely devoid of any excitement.
    Too many rules spoiling this sport. Dull.

  4. Icthyes said on 14th March 2010, 23:07

    A great return for Alonso, Massa, Ferrari, and above all, F1; this is what I waited all winter for! Races where everything may not be all they seem at the time, wondering how much life each driver has in their tyres, if they could close a gap which in previous years would have seemed insurmountable. Races where strategy is more organic and the best-laid plans are no good at all if followed to the letter. Races where the calibre of the top drivers and cars is so great that not only can this generation of cars’ sensitivity to the kind of track and conditions be negated by driver skill but victories leave no room for (fairly justifiable, last year) “they only won because their car suited the track more” arguments. Races where cars coming out of the pits could pass those who hadn’t, and therefore produce some overtaking, even if there was little of it for true position. Even the “start on tyres from Q3″ rule didn’t really have an impact, except to bring in the front runners earlier and perhaps in later races make 2-stop strategies more of an option, possibly even vindicating the rule being introduced (and I didn’t think I’d be raising that prospect!)

    Even without the problem Vettel had, I think Alonso would have won. It was stance seeing him on the top step of the podium in Ferrari overalls, but he deserved it. Hamilton I feel would have got there on his own had he not been passed by Rosberg, and it was great to see Massa do so well on his first race back. And I’m fairly confident we’ll see kore of the old Schumacher once he gets back into the swing of things. One thing’s for sure, Red Bull can stop complaining about being down on power when we saw today the advantage of being lighter from their fuel efficiency gave. And if Renault are allowed to make their unit more powerful and it costs them efficiency, that’ll be just desserts and fair. Also, well done to all the new teams for getting as far as they did, according to their individual circumstances. I just wish they had come in last year, when the upheaval of the rules would have given them more chance to tack onto the end of or even compete with the established teams, and when the market for sponsors would have been a little better, and there might not have been the dramas and farces they went through this year.

    I’d like to see more variations in strategy, with a car burning off fuel as fast as it can in the early part of a race and then lean it out having gained a natural pace advantage due to being lighter, or a driver going for gold by stopping once more than his rivals, but I’m sure we’ll see more of that after the teams find their feet with the new rules in the races.

    18 more to go – can’t wait to see them all!

  5. zerogee said on 14th March 2010, 23:50

    I’m not sure what the FIA were expecting with everyone on the same fuel load and strategy. While it’s too early too call (like about 5 races too early), it wasn’t a good start. Let’s see how Melbourne goes.

    If it does continue, there will be lots of questionable safety cars this year…

  6. Scribe said on 14th March 2010, 23:58

    Right well first of all while there’s no doubt that the race was a dud I’m not sure the panic some have been expressing is really yet needed.

    Completley and absolutley awful change to the track. The previous Grand Prix circuit has gained itself character, in that it consitantly produced good overtaking, an good racing. Now the thing that made this track good has been ruined by this absolutely silly new bit, the very epitomy of how designers ruin modern tracks.

    I’m going to bed now, glad I saw that, definatley more to say on this race but ah well, see you tommorow.

  7. wasiF1 said on 15th March 2010, 2:13

    Happy for Alonso that after two years he got a car which can win him the championship.Massa also did a good race,but really would love if the two Ferrari drivers fought a bit on track.Feel very sorry for Vettel he deserved the victory.
    So far I think Ferrari & Red Bull have the best car,with Mclaren & Mercedes are half second behind them. But I want them to come back & fight well in Australia.

    • Jonathan said on 15th March 2010, 10:01

      Looks like McLaren are well ahead of Mercedes for raw pace. But Button qualified poorly, then got stuck behind Schumacher and couldn’t overtake.

  8. wong chin kong said on 15th March 2010, 2:21

    The race is quite boring. Ban on refuelling takes out all the excitement in pit stops. The car moved like hippopotamus as seen on TV. Corners were taken at snail pace and lack of wheel to wheel fighting. Maybe because of the heavy weight of the car and the longer wheelbase. The Ferraris were excellent, have tremendous race pace, Alonso should be champion if he drives consistently and win the majority of the races in first half of the season. Vettel and Hamilton are amazing drivers and would pose a serious threat to Alonso chances. But it is very early in the season, many changes and incidents can happen in the next few races.

  9. wasiF1 said on 15th March 2010, 2:29

    Good race for Lotus & Force India happy that they have achieved what they wanted to.

  10. Lorenzo C said on 15th March 2010, 6:15

    After seeing this race, it really made me think about how far away F1 is from where it should be.

    When will the FIA stop screwing around and making “seat of the pants” calls on the sporting regulations? No wonder so many manufacturers are leaving the sport – it is costing them too much money to keep re-engineering their cars to conform to the latest rule of the month. What you have now is too many restrictions – no refuelling, mandated tire types, ridiculous qualifying process, no aero, fat slicks, skinny slicks, severe limitations on testing, 3 race minimum on engines etc. And those regulations keep coming “fast and furious”. The races are boring simply because they are not races anymore and the cars aren’t real F1 cars anymore.

    I have been watching this sport for almost 30 years and I can’t believe how persistently stupid the FIA has been (especially in the last 4 or 5 years). IMHO, Here’s how to fix Formula 1:

    1) Throw budget caps out the window or at least free them up considerably – the same teams are always going to win anyway regardless of budget and if they have the money and want to spend it, let them. Besides, all the “knee-jerk” regulation changes surely aren’t saving the sport that much money.

    2) Let the teams test more again so the teams get proper return on their investment and the drivers don’t waste races learning about their cars.

    3) Stop with the stupid multi-race engine rule- this is not endurance racing. This is about the fastest drivers in the fastest cars – drivers should worry about the race they’re in, not the next one

    4) Remover the tire restrictions and allow other manufacturers in – drivers should be worried about conserving tires in the context of winning a race not finishing it.

    4) Bring back one hour open qualifying (12 laps or more) and none of this shoot out stuff that just burns up gas and isn’t really “balls to the wall” racing. If they are worried about teams staying in the pits for extended periods of time, just make them post at least x# of laps in the first half of the session and let them have at it. Some of the most exciting qualifying sessions in F1 history have been about drivers going all out in cars tweaked for qualifying. The current set up is too artificial like many other things in the sport in the last 3 or 4 years.

    5) Let designers be designers again and simplify the regulations. Allow whatever engine in whatever configuration the team wants as long as it meets the basic rules (i.e. 3.0 litre etc). Allow more freedom in the design (aero or whatever) so we can get F1 cars again – this is NOT a spec series.

    6) Force design changes to tracks where overtaking is compromised. In the interest of overtaking, none of the recent car changes have worked – surely wider tracks with more passing areas can be explored.

    Formula 1 has survived for many years without this current nonsense and it will continue to as long as we get back to what this thing is about – the best drivers in the world racing the fastest, most advanced race cars in the world on the fastest tracks in the world. Expensive, exotic, fast – the best of the best.

    Oh – and it’s great to have Schuey back – now if we can just let him race, we’ll definitely see a show!

    • Jonathan said on 15th March 2010, 10:05

      I think the cost-cutting measures are unfortunately necessary.

      We previously had a situation where teams were spending upwards of £300m a year, an unsustainable level of expenditure for both manufacturers and private enthusiasts.

  11. PJA said on 15th March 2010, 9:44

    Well after all the build-up it felt like a bit of an anti-climax, but there have been plenty of other races people called processional so we can’t go writing off the entire season based on one race.

    I don’t think the new layout improved the racing so I wouldn’t be surprised if it changed agin for next year.

    I would like to know what the attendance was for the Grand Prix compared with the total capacity, because I don’t recall any camera shots of the grandstands which is usually a sign that they are empty, as the rest of the track was certainly empty apart from the marshals.

    I don’t know if it was just a case of first race back but FOM seemed to have some problems, they didn’t put enough information on screen during qualifying showing everyone’s positions, then during the race the team radio graphic appeared a few times without any radio, and they didn’t have the timer on screen for most of the pit stops, but I liked the fact that they had two timers for total time in the pit lane and time when the car was stationery.

    After lots of people predicting problems for the new teams I don’t think they caused any problems during the race.

  12. Jonathan said on 15th March 2010, 10:10

    This race was a PR disaster for F1. This season has been seriously hyped. I’m guessing upwards of 6m watched in the UK alone. Today, all those people will be commenting on how staggeringly dull it was. F1 is going to be hit by a tsunami of bad press.

  13. Sri said on 16th March 2010, 6:44

    @ Einar Ali
    Bravissimo!!! For calling out FIA on BS and farcical rule changes. I’m going to add something here and i hope it will resonate with you, since you and i share the love for the sport from the days long gone by.

    When they started with the “eco-mentalist” rules first some three- four years ago, my reaction was “***!” as i clearly saw the signs of F1 going *** backwards. Yes, for example i could see drivers trying to preserve engine and not revving it up, like they did in order to make a pass. Then again, teams are not saving as much money as one would like to believe. Teams would simply spend the money saved in one area, in another area for gaining a sliver of performance advantage. “This is F1 and not LeMans”, as someone so eloquently put.

    I say tear up the current rule book and go back to light fuel quali… where they raced against each other, to go as fast as they can and did. That would take care of Saturdays. About the race… i’m currently watching recorded ’95 season, where in one pre-race show, they complained how overtaking is difficult. It has been for more than a decade and half and unless you go to square cars, or some fugly solution like that, aero’s going to be a b!tc#. What with F1 becoming more of a spec series, i can’t see how it could get any better unless you go on to ovals. There, i said it! There HAS to be a performance differential between cars for making it a bit interesting. So yes, F1 should go back to rewarding innovation by and large.

    In its current guise, it is quite bad and chances of it improving are rather slim (any wagers???)… Currently, if you come with a crappy design, you’re stuck with it for a year at the least (and that’s depending on which part of the car sucks more). Take example of Renault, they had a crappy engine and they are requesting FIA if they could change it. I say sod this and bring back the old system, allowing continuous development where teams are able to catch up on each other. Even if some teams are able to do some work, we would hopefully have better racing than now.

    Yes, there clearly needs to be some semblance of sanity. So perhaps one engine per race rule is good, as most teams could easily do that. Then again, some more cost saving measures could be deliberated upon, which don’t slow down the cars. Slowing down cars really makes me furious, cos i remember being a kid parroting lap records for all circuits and checking who’s dashing which during the season. As a kid, i loved the idea of going fast and the really “lap record breaking” fast bit, even more.

    Yes, we all would have opinions about what all is going on. In my opinion, we should have more drivers involved when forming any rules to promote racing, than bean counters and other such lot. Those who want to remain in F1, they will. I’ll say this again, for those who didn’t see a post about this before. Honda and BMW didn’t leave F1 because of global market slowdown and costs of F1, instead it was the degeneration of F1 into what it was. Toyota left, as it had no incentive, given Honda’s departure. They did try for one more year, as they had the car ready and may be wanted to find out if it works for them, like it did for Honda (only a little too late and when they were Brawn :D ). Toyota may have stayed around, had it worked for them last year, which didn’t happen and the resultant departure was not a surprise at all. I predicted manufacturers moving out quite a while before it actually took place, which made me sad.

    My two cents.

  14. Vettel looked the strongest from the start but towards the end the Ferrari’s just got stronger and stronger. I’m still very sure that vettel would of won by a fair distance without that problem coming up towards the end, it just shows how far back the Mclaren and Mercedes teams are.

    Personally I feel a sparkplug in Vettel’s car breaking doesn’t really count as a “reliability issue”, it’s just one of those F1 moments which will bite you in the backside when you least expect it when your leading.

    It looks so far that the mclaren is again behind the front runners which is quite interesting since lewis and jenson say they are happy with the car, while the Mercedes team say they are still working for 100%.

    Also sooner then later the other teams will have mclaren’s rear wing to improve their cars so where does that leave mclaren a few races from now?

    My opinion of the best car so far:

    Red Bull-Strongest Overall.
    Ferrari-“Slower” from the start but gets faster.
    Mclaren-Rear wing advantage but looks shakey in race.
    Mercedes-Work in progress,strong for not being 100% sorted.

    All in all Ferrari should be worried about Red Bull’s pace this year, this certainly will not be a whitewash year for Ferrari.

  15. Chaz said on 22nd March 2010, 16:57

    Well done to the red team…

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