Vettel Victorious at Bahrain Grand Prix
Starting in pole position, and demonstrating the skill and determination that have made him a world champion, Sebastian Vettel took the checkered flag at the Bahrain Grand Prix yesterday – his first win of the year. While political unrest in the streets of Manama – twenty miles or so from the track – attempted to shut down the event, Formula One competitors put their energies into the task at hand, doing what they do best and giving the fans what they came to see – plenty of competitive on-track action.
Vettel put in a flawless performance from start to finish, making the Bahrain Grand Prix his 22nd career victory and putting him at the top of the drivers’ standings. In a post-race interview Vettel noted that he was lucky in having a good start allowing him to open up a gap in the front, while acknowledging that Kimi Raikkonen had challenged him during the race. Raikkonen revealed that he had only one possible chance to pass Vettel, but was just not able to pull it off, stating nonetheless that it had been a good race for them both.
James Grosjean took third place, noting that he was very happy to have achieved his first podium finish in Formula 1 racing. Mark Webber finished in fourth place, with Nico Rosberg taking fifth place, Paul Di Resta in sixth, Fernando Alonso in seventh and Lewis Hamilton in eighth.
While the political tensions in Bahrain are multi-faceted, the protests surrounding the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix focus primarily on the fact that Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa owns the rights to the Grand Prix and was therefore the event’s host. Protesters objected to this connection for a number of reasons, particularly relating to the crushing of the Arab Spring movement by the ruling family last year. In 2004, Bahrain was the first Middle Eastern country to host a Formula 1 Grand prix, with Abu Dhabi hosting an event on the 2009 calendar at Yas Marina circuit. While the unrest and protests made world headlines, they appear to have had little effect on how auto racing fans view the prestige of the Formula 1 Grand Prix.