Defending triple world champion Sebastian Vettel open-ed up a clear lead at the top of this year’s title race on Sunday when he cruised to victory for Red Bull in the Bahrain GP.
The race finished without any disruption amid tight security and despite earlier clashes betwe-en police and Shiite protesters in villages in the Gulf kingdom.
Vettel — who beat Lotus duo Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean in a repeat of last year’s finishing order — proved himself as a master of the conditions in a hot and dusty desert contest.
It was the 25-year-old Germ-an’s second win in four races this year and the 28th of his career as he repeated his victory of 2012.
The German’s victory saw him move into sixth on the all-time list of Grand Prix wins taking him past Jackie Stewart.
Heat, dust and drama
Briton Lewis Hamilton fought hard to finish fifth for Mercedes after a late battle with Australian Mark Webber who came home seventh in the second Red Bull, Mexican Sergio Perez smashing his way to sixth for McLaren.
Hamilton, who survived a car failure in practice on Saturday morning, said he was “very, very happy” with fifth because his “race started out so bad”. He started from ninth, dropped to 11th and then found his way back. “All of a sudden, I could push after the second stop and the car was amazing,” he added.
Fernando Alonso, who lost the use of his DRS on his Ferrari, came in eighth ahead of pole starting Nico Rosberg in the second Mercedes. Jenson Button finished 10th for McLaren after several clashes with team-mate Perez.
He later said the Mexican had been “too aggressive... you don’t expect your team-mate to do that at 200 mph. I don’t think I’m the only one to feel like that...” Perez said: “I was only as aggressive as he was with me... It was probably too much, but it’s something we have to speak about....”