Motorsport Wrap for Monday 15th March 2010

Motorsport Wrap for Monday 15th March 2010

Alonso makes perfect start to Ferrari Career


For most of the race, pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel looked to have the 2010 season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix in his keeping.

Bahrain GP podium 2010

Having qualified fastest and started the race on Bridgestone's super-soft Potenza rubber, he kept the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa at bay for lap after lap. That was until a cracked exhaust robbed him of power and he could only watch as Alonso, Massa and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton eased past to take the podium positions.

For Alonso - who also started on the softer of the Bridgestone compounds before pitting for medium rubber - it was the perfect start to his Ferrari career.

"It's a very special day for me as coming back to the podium is very special," the Spaniard said.

"There is no better way to start a relationship with the best team in the world. We have been working hard all winter, and arrived quite prepared for the first race."

It was an emotional second place for Massa with the Brazilian completing the Ferrari one-two in his first race back since suffering a season-ending head injury at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix.

"Being competitive in a good car is great! Thanks to God that I'm fine, and thanks to all for the support, letters which motivate me," he said.

Vettel had to settle for fourth ahead of the two Mercedes GP cars of Nico Rosberg and seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher, who had an uneventful race in his F1 comeback. Reigning champion Jenson Button finished seventh in his first race for McLaren while Australia's Mark Webber finished eighth.

 "Today we were very happy with tyre performance. This was the first race under these new regulations so no-one knew exactly what to expect," said Hirohide Hamashima - Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development.

"Tyre management, as expected, was very important in this first race with no refuelling. The cars and drivers which were more forgiving to their tyres were rewarded with more durable performance.

"This was only the first of 19 races this season. I think we all have a lot to learn about this season's best tyre strategies and it will be fascinating unlocking the secrets for the best performance in the races ahead."

The teams now head to Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix in a fortnight's time.

Championship standings


Fernando Alonso (SP)




Felipe Massa (BR)




Lewis Hamilton (GB)

McLaren Mercedes



Sebastian Vettel (GER)

Red Bull Renault



Garth Tander - driving a Bridgestone-backed Holden Racing Team Commodore - has given himself a chance to win a $2m bonus after winning the two races of the Clipsal 500 V8 Supercar event in Adelaide.

The bonus can be won by a driver who can sweep the sport's Grand Slam - Adelaide, Bathurst, Gold Coast and Sydney.

After winning Saturday's opening race, Tander used a daring strategy of not refuelling late in Sunday's 250 kilometre event and managed to deal with a late charge from Ford's James Courtney on his way to victory.

However, the race was marred by a penalty for championship leader Jamie Whincup who was controversially black-flagged while leading with just eight laps to go. Race stewards demanded he serve a drive-through penalty because of a loose piece of bodywork.

So, instead of extending his championship lead to 150 points with a win, Whincup instead saw it cut to just 57 ahead of Ford's Mark Winterbottom and Courtney. 

Championship standings


Jamie Whincup (AUS)




Mark Winterbottom (AUS)




James Courtney (AUS)

Jim Beam