23 Apr 2012

Vettel wins Bahrain F1

10:16 am on 23 April 2012

World champion Sebastian Vettel celebrated Red Bull's first victory of the season and went back to the top of the standings after a Bahrain Grand Prix that put Formula One in the eye of a desert storm.

The German's sigh of relief on the podium was echoed by teams and bosses after the race, scheduled against a backdrop of anti-government protests and nightly clashes between police firing teargas at petrol-bomb throwing youths, went ahead without incident and despite worldwide condemnation.

The 24-year-old Vettel's 22nd career triumph, and his first in the troubled Gulf kingdom, made him the fourth different winner in four races - the first time that has happened since 2003.

Vettel now has 53 points, ousting McLaren's Lewis Hamilton from the top. The Briton, who finished eighth after two nightmare pitstops, has 49.

The German was pushed hard in the closing laps by Finland's 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen, who had started 11th and finished second ahead of Lotus team mate Romain Grosjean in the Frenchman's first appearance on the F1 podium.