Date: 22nd April 2013 at 10:13am
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It was a case of deja vu in the Bahrain desert as the same top three drivers from last year?s Bahrain Grand Prix once again finished in exactly the same order

It was a case of deja vu in the Bahrain desert as the same top three drivers from last year?s Bahrain Grand Prix once again finished in exactly the same order after 57-laps around the Bahrain International Circuit with Sebastian Vettel ahead of the Lotus duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.

After securing a superlative pole position during qualifying, Nico Rosberg defended heavily at the start ahead of the ever-charging Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel. Fernando Alonso momentarily rose to 2nd position on the opening lap, however the Spaniard was soon overtaken by the reigning Champion. Felipe Massa damaged his front-wing during the opening few laps, after a collision with the Force India of Adrian Sutil. The Brazilian driver was not forced to pit, unlike Adrian Sutil who plummeted through the order.

Further back a heavier collision ensued between Jean-Eric Vergne and Giedo van der Garde, which ultimately led to both drivers pitting due to damage sustained. The Frenchman was later forced into retirement on Lap 19. Whilst carnage occurred throughout the order, Nico Rosberg came under serious pressure from the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel. By the third lap, the reigning World Champion had scythed his way around his fellow countryman through Turn 1 and into the lead of the race. The Mercedes ace momentarily dropped down to 3rd behind Fernando Alonso, however the German managed to quickly retake the position.

However, Fernando Alonso simply breezed passed Nico Rosberg a lap later, with an overtaking maneuver greatly assisted by DRS. Nico Rosberg continued to drop through the order in the opening laps, as Paul di Resta impressed many by rising up to 3rd from 5th on the grid. After utilizing the DRS overtaking device against Nico Rosberg a lap before, the Spaniard?s race was utterly destroyed when the DRS flap failed to close. This forced him to make an early and unscheduled pit-stop on two occasions, with Fernando Alonso dropping right through the order and unable to use DRS at all.

As Fernando Alonso was struck with a faulty DRS device, many drivers throughout the pack decided to make their first scheduled pit stop including Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg. Sebastian Vettel pitted several laps later from the lead of the race, handing the lead over to Paul di Resta who led his first Grand Prix since Bahrain last year. However, the Scotsman only led for three laps before he too elected to pit. This momentarily handed the lead over to Kimi Raikkonen, before Sebastian Vettel stormed back into the lead at Turn 1.

The Finn also pitted a lap later, before Ferrari?s race worsened when Felipe Massa was forced to pit after sustaining a right-rear puncture on Lap 18. Further ahead Nico Rosberg was failing to produce the blistering pace witnessed during qualifying, as Jenson Button and Romain Grosjean stormed around the German. The duo then proceeded to have a battle between themselves for 3rd, before Jenson Button pitted along with Mark Webber. After a disappointing opening three races for Sergio Perez, the Mexican driver rediscovered his form of last season with a sensational drive around the Bahrain International Circuit.

The former Sauber driver was unbelievably quick during the race, and pulled off several superb overtaking maneuvers for McLaren. The 23-year-old even battled hard with his team-mate of Jenson Button, with the duo almost colliding on numerous occasions. Sebastian Vettel pitted for a second time on Lap 25, and rejoined the race still in the lead after opening up a 22 second lead to the Lotus of Romain Grosjean who had progressed through the order and looked a likely candidate for a podium finish.

Paul di Resta moved back up to 2nd position as the race progressed, before Romain Grosjean elected to pit from 3rd on Lap 28. Further back the McLaren duo of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez battling extremely hard, as the Mexican driver lightly tapped his team-mate at Turn 5 in a bid to overtake the former Champion. The battling between the duo continued until Jenson Button pitted several laps later, as Ferrari?s race failed to improve as Felipe Massa once again suffered a right-rear puncture and was forced to pit.

Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg clashed at Turn 2 throughout the closing stages of the race, with duo luckily sustaining no serious damage. Although both drivers were able to continue racing, the stewards decided to investigate the issue after the race. Sebastian Vettel pitted for a third and final time on Lap 42, and once again managed to exit the pit lane still in the lead in what was becoming a dominant drive by the German.

Throughout the closing laps of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Paul di Resta?s hopes of securing his first ever Formula 1 podium were dashed when Romain Grosjean easily overtook the Force India driver. This meant the top three ended the race in exactly the same position as last year?s Bahrain Grand Prix, as Sebastian Vettel crossed the line to secure his second victory of the season in unbelievably dominant fashion. Behind the leading trio, Paul di Resta was followed home by Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez, with latter clear impressing many with his fearsome racing.

After taking his 28th career victory, Sebastian Vettel has now opened up a ten point lead in the Drivers? Championship over Kimi Raikkonen. Lewis Hamilton is in 3rd position in the Championship, after a first-class start to his career with Mercedes. The sport now enjoys a three-week break, before the start of the European season with the Spanish Grand Prix around Barcelona?s Circuit de Catalunya.

Author: Andy Young

TWITTER: @AndyYoungF1


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