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Alonso Takes First Victory of 2010 for Ferrari

March 14, 2010

Fernando Alonso won his debut race for Ferrari at the Bahrain Grand Prix this afternoon, with teammate Felipe Massa making it a one-two for the team.

It had been Sebastian Vettel who had taken an early lead from pole position in the Red Bull, but exhaust problems for Vettel in the second half of the race enabled Alonso to pass him at the end of lap 34. Alonso had been biding his time up until that point and had managed to get the original 5 second gap Vettel had pulled out in the first stint, down to a second before finally making his move. Massa made his move into turn one on lap 35, and by the beginning of lap 38, Lewis Hamilton was also able to pass the German.

Alonso said of his race: “It was a special day for me. Coming back to the top of the podium is always special.” Referring to his first win for the Ferrari team, he said: “There is no better way to start the relationship.”

Alonso had made his first move of the race, passing Massa for second in the first corner. At the same time, Nico Rosberg, who started fifth for Mercedes, was able to pass Lewis Hamilton for fourth, after the McLaren driver ran wide trying to pass Massa into turn four for third. Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber, who had started sixth, fell back after a smoky first couple of corners and Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button were able to gain a place each from him, getting up to sixth and seventh, but Webber quickly claimed seventh back off Button.

In the first round of pitstops, after being held up by Rosberg, Hamilton was able to retake fourth, while Button was able to claim seventh back off Webber. With Vettel, Alonso and Massa then retaining their positions as the front three, it was then Hamilton who led Rosberg, Schumacher, Button and Webber into the second and final stint.

From there, things stayed pretty constant until Vettel’s problems began to persist and the Ferraris and Hamilton were able to pass. Rosberg was unable to pass Vettel in the last lap, despite closing the gap, and Vettel finally finished in fourth. Rosberg was able to continue his form for the weekend, remaining ahead of his seven-time world champion teammate, Schumacher, with the two finishing fifth and sixth respectively. Button was able to keep Schumacher firmly in his sights throughout the race, but unable to pass the German, the reigning champion had to settle for seventh overall. Despite Adrian Sutil and Robert Kubica qualifying in the top ten, both fell back down the pack in the opening stage of the race, and it was Vitantonio Liuzzi and Rubens Barrichello who were the last of the points scorers in ninth and tenth respectively.

Further down the pack, and out of the three new teams, Lotus were the only one who were able to finish the race, with Heikki Kovalainen finishing 15th, and Jarno Trulli 16th, both keeping their laptimes to within three seconds of the frontrunners at times. Karun Chandhok was the first retiree in the HRT, while Bruno Senna retired with a sick engine later on. Lucas di Grassi and Timo Glock failed to finish for Virgin, while Kamui Kobayashi, Vitaly Petrov, Pedro de la Rosa and Sebastien Buemi were the other retirees of the race.

Alonso’s impressive win on his debut for Ferrari sees him take 25 points, with Massa taking 18. The two together put the Ferrari team in a strong position in the constructors’ championship early on, with the team taking a maximum 43 points. McLaren take 21 points from Hamilton and Button’s third and seventh positions, with a solid fifth and sixth for Mercedes putting them third on the constructors table with 18 points, with Red Bull just behind on 16.

The Australian Grand Prix is in two weeks time, with qualifying on Saturday 27th March at 6am (GMT), and the race live on BBC1 at 7am on Sunday 28th.

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One comment

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