After a week of “what-ifs” and issues of safety surrounding the Bahrain Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel took the checkered flag on Sunday and climbed into the Formula 1 driver’s championship chase.
The reigning world champion started the weekend by capturing the pole position for the race and led from start to finish, serving notice he is very much ready to defend his title.
“I think it was an incredible race. Extremely tough,” the Red Bull pilot said in the post-race interviews. “A difficult race but with the strategy everything seemed to work so I can only say a big thanks to the boys in the garage.”
The Lotus team joined Vettel on the podium, with Kimi Räikkönen finishing second and Romain Grosjean in third. Räikkönen pushed toward the front after starting in 11th spot, but the best he could do in the end was close within three seconds of Vettel.
“We could see Kimi was getting through, he was very quick and so was Romain,” the race winner said. “I knew that every single corner would be crucial with no mistakes allowed.”
The win in Bahrain vaults the two-time world champion to the top of the drivers’ standings. Vettel leads McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton by four points and Red Bull teammate Mark Webber by five.
As the festivities drew to a close and the Formula 1 roadshow packed up to move on to the next destination on the circuit, everyone could breathe a collective sigh of relief the weekend went off relatively problem free. A man was killed during clashes with police on Saturday, but the event didn’t overshadow the race.
The next race on the Formula 1 circuit is the Spanish Grand Prix on May 13.