Alonso leads Ferrari one-two in season opener

Fernando Alonso led a Ferrari one-two on his debut for the team as the Maranello marque made a stunning start to the new Formula One season.

Alonso produced the defining move of the Bahrain Grand Prix at the end of lap 34 of the 49-lap race, passing a backpedalling Sebastian Vettel at that stage, before going on to claim the 22nd win of his career, and third at the Sakhir circuit.

Suffering a loss of power, polesitter Vettel had led throughout up until that point, eventually finishing an unhappy fourth as Felipe Massa and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton also made their moves past the young German to stand on the podium.

It was Ferrari's first one-two since the French Grand Prix in June 2008, and Alonso's first victory since Japan the same year when he was with Renault.

If omens are anything to go by, on the previous two occasions Alonso won this race he went on to win the title in 2005 and 2006 when he was in his first spell with the French manufacturer.

Behind the leading quartet, Mercedes' return to F1 as a fully-fledged manufacturer for the first time in 55 years saw them finish fifth and sixth, with Nico Rosberg narrowly ahead of seven-times champion Michael Schumacher on his return to the sport after three-and-a-half years in retirement.

As for Jenson Button, it was not the performance he would have wanted on his debut for McLaren and on his first outing in defence of the title he won last year.

The 30-year-old finished just a second behind the 41-year-old German, with Mark Webber eighth in his Red Bull.

With the top 10 scoring points this year, Force India's Vitantonio Liuzzi was ninth and Rubens Barrichello 10th in his debut for Williams.

Sadly, it was hardly the spectacle the Formula One-loving public had hoped for as the new rule changes appear to have done little for the show.

In the build-up to the race the drivers and team principals had all stated the sport was venturing into the unknown, that there would either be plenty of spills and thrills or it would be a procession.

No surprises for guessing it was primarily the latter, save for a handful of moves involving the lower-placed cars.

Many had also anticipated mayhem at the first corner, with all cars carrying large fuel loads following the decision to ban in-race refuelling.

Instead the field virtually tip-toed their way around the right-hander, led by Vettel.

But for team-mate Webber's car experiencing a slosh of oil that spilled over onto his hot exhaust, sending plumes of smoke billowing behind him, the opening turn would have been incident-free.

Instead, blinded by white cloud, Renault's Robert Kubica and Adrian Sutil in his Force India both spun from their ninth and 10th positions, and remarkably neither were struck as the traffic found a way round.

Webber's initial plight allowed the returning Schumacher to move up a place to sixth, while Rosberg had gained a spot on Hamilton to claim fourth.

The most significant move on that opening lap saw Alonso move past Massa into second, but beyond that little happened up until the first round of pit stops.

By then there had been a handful of retirements, notably the two Virgin Racing and Hispania Racing cars, as well as Kamui Kobayashi in his Sauber.

Up front the field barely altered, although Hamilton passed Rosberg and Button moved past Webber in that one-and-only pit-stop round that now lasts four to five seconds such is the excellence of the crews.

But nothing really happened until Vettel started to go backwards, allowing Alonso to pass him into the final corner of lap 34, and then 20 seconds later Massa eased past at the first corner of lap 35.

Hamilton followed a few laps later, and that was effectively it.

Credit, though, to the Lotus Racing team on their return after a 16-year absence as Heikki Kovalainen saw the chequered flag in 15th place.

Team-mate Jarno Trulli finished 17th, although he pulled over on the last lap, and ultimately three down on the celebratory Alonso who poured champagne all over team boss Stefano Domenicali amid the podium celebrations.

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments