Live Commentary: Bahrain Grand Prix - as it happened

Live Commentary: Bahrain GP - as it happened
© AP Photos
Read how Sebastian Vettel strolled home in the Bahrain Grand Prix to extend his world championship lead.

Sebastian Vettel was the red-hot favourite going into this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix and the reigning three-time world champion made no mistake by winning extremely comfortably.

Nico Rosberg started on pole but it was a tough afternoon for the German as the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa also struggled.

The other spots on the podium were filled by the Lotuses of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.

Read how an action-packed race in Sakhir unfolded in our lap-by-lap coverage below.

12.31pmAfternoon all! It's round four of the 2013 F1 season and the last leg of the current races in Asia.

12.32pmWe'll have a three-week break after today's race before the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on May 12.

12.34pmAs mentioned above, it's Nico Rosberg of Mercedes on pole this afternoon. The German was super speedy in quali yesterday, finishing a quarter of a second ahead of reigning three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

12.36pmThe start will be crucial for Rosberg today. It tends to get very bunched going into turn one in Sakhir and I'd expect Vettel to jump him at the start.

12.39pmFerrari's Fernando Alonso is third and the prancing horses often race off the line. Maybe Alonso will lead after the first turn?

12.42pmHere's the top 10 on the grid:

1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
2. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
3. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
4. Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
5. Paul di Resta (Force India)
6. Adrian Sutil (Force India)
7. Mark Webber (Red Bull)
8. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus Renault)
9. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
10. Jenson Button (McLaren)

12.44pmAs you can see, two Force Indias line up side by side in fifth and sixth. It's the best ever combined finish by the team but I'd be very surprised if they challenge for a place on the podium.

12.47pmTwo men in that top 10 have been hit with a grid penalty. Webber took a three-place hit while Hamilton dropped five places because of a gearbox change.

12.50pmPREDICTION: With 10 minutes until the lights go out, it's time for my prediction on the race. I can't look past Vettel in all honesty. The Red Bull has looked very assured all weekend and I expect Vettel to get ahead of Rosberg right at the start.

12.53pmA special jumbo jet has just swooped very low over the track. This meeting is quite unique in its desert setting. There's little character about the barren wasteland surrounding the track but it certainly is interesting.

12.56pmThere's two DRS zones here and we're expecting plenty of overtakes this afternoon. Can anyone further back make a charge through the field? Felipe Massa is on a different compound of tyre and could play a part. He's on the harder compound while the majority are on the medium tyre.

12.59pmIn 10th position, Jenson Button has a free choice of tyre after deciding not to set a time in Q3 yesterday. Can the Englishman spring a surprise? He's starting on the medium like most around him.

1pmFORMATION LAP: Rosberg is supposed to lead them off but Vettel shoots away and has to slow right down to let his compatriot back through. Once they've completed this circuit we'll be ready to go.

1.02pmRound the final bend they come and now they line up in position. Almost ready...


Lap 1Rosberg still leads. Alonso takes Vettel.

Lap 1Massa and Sutil have collided. The latter is running very slowly.

Lap 1Hamilton has dropped behind the two McLarens.

Lap 1Vettel retakes Alonso with a very bold move on turn seven. Fabulous wheel-to-wheel stuff.

Lap 2Vettel tries to get Rosberg on the opening corner but can't quite do it. This is brilliant racing. Alonso now right on their backsides again.

Lap 2Di Resta has moved up to fourth as teammate Sutil continues to struggle.

Lap 2"You have a puncture, you have a puncture," Toro Rosso's Vergne is told to come into the pits.

Lap 3Rosberg is having to fight so so hard to keep Vettel at bay but the world champion is past him and INTO THE LEAD.

Lap 3TOP 10: 1 Vettel 2 Rosberg 3 Alonso 4 Di Resta 5 Massa 6 Webber 7 Button 8 Perez 9 Raikkonen 10 Grosjean

Lap 4Alonso sweeps past Rosberg on the final corner but the Mercedes man is very courageous in retaking the place on the first corner.

Lap 5ALONSO manages to get it done this time around on the first corner. No mistakes this time from the Spaniard. Up at the front, Vettel is doing what he does best in streaking away.

Lap 6Brilliant stuff from Di Resta as he nudges out Rosberg on that opening corner again. The Mercedes really isn't performing well today. Hamilton's back in 11th.

Lap 6DAMAGE! Massa's front wing is heavily damaged but it doesn't seem to be affecting his performance too much. Rosberg continues to struggle on his tyres.

Lap 7The McLarens of Button and Perez are looking good in seventh and eighth. Button is right on the back of Webber in front of him. We're expecting the first round of pit stops very shortly. Surely Rosberg will come in.

Lap 8"Box now Fernando," Alonso is told. His DRS on the rear wing is stuck open and that's a big problem. The Ferrari boys shove it back into place but I'm not sure that will be able to continue to function.

Lap 8Alonso put on a set of the harder tyres there. Di Resta's now second.

Lap 9Dear oh dear Fernando. He pops open his DRS once more but yet again it lodges stuck and they'll have to shut it and now tell him not to use it. His race is over.

Lap 9WEBBER pits from sixth and he's now on the harder tyre as well.

Lap 10Vettel's lead at the front is 5.8s. It's looking extremely comfortable for the German at the moment. Di Resta still second. Rosberg has also pit at last.

Lap 11In come our leader Vettel and he's followed by Massa, Hamilton and Perez.

Lap 11So it's now Di Resta in the lead from Raikkonen but that's a jumbled grid as some cars haven't stopped yet.

Lap 11Webber sets the new fastest lap of the race with a 1:40.030. He's enjoying that fresh rubber.

Lap 12Rosberg began on pole but it's been a shoddy race so far for the Mercedes. Button is the latest man to zoom past the German.

Lap 13It's ever so close between the trio of Button, Rosberg and Massa and it's Rosberg who wins the tussle to retake sixth place. Grosjean and Perez are also fighting it out just behind for ninth and 10th.

Lap 14So it's Di Resta and Raikkonen out at the front. Neither man has stopped yet and they're looking to do a two-stopper, with most others scheduling a three.

Lap 14Big lock-up from Perez as he tries to swoop up the inside of Grosjean but he can't get it done. Di Resta is told to pit.

Lap 15The Scot rejoins in ninth place ahead of Hamilton as VETTEL speeds past Raikkonen for the lead. It's ever so easy for the German as his car is so, so quick this weekend.

Lap 16TOP 10: 1 Vettel 2 Raikkonen 3 Webber 4 Rosberg 5 Button 6 Massa 7 Grosjean 8 Perez 9 Di Resta 10 Hamilton

Lap 17Raikkonen pits at last and it's not the best stop from the Lotus boys and he rejoins in 11th behind Hamilton and Di Resta.

Lap 17PUNCTURE! Ferrari's day goes from bad to worse as Massa's right rear gets a slow puncture and he's got to come in.

Lap 18RETIRED! Vergne's race is over. The Toro Rosso suffered a lot of damage at the start and he's unable to continue.

Lap 19Vettel's lead at the front is 11.8s back to teammate Webber while there continues to be a great fight for third, fourth, fifth and sixth between Rosberg, Button, Grosjean and Perez.

Lap 20And it's Button who moves up into third with a sweet move on the first corner on Rosberg. A moment later and it's Grosjean who also gets past the German.

Lap 21Rosberg and Perez come into the pits together and the former just about holds on to his position as they exit.

Lap 21Grosjean's car is looking very sound at the moment and he's all over the back of Button who has just been told to pit because of a tyre problem.

Lap 22Another man who's struggling is Hamilton and he's just reported back to his team that his rear balance is rubbish. Perez and Rosberg continue their ding-dong and Perez finally gets it done for 10th place.

Lap 23Hamilton makes his second stop of the afternoon and he rejoins in 15th. Quite a boring afternoon for the Englishman. His Mercedes really hasn't worked this weekend.

Lap 24Not sure Rosberg will ever have a race so full of wheel-to-wheel stuff! They're three abreast going round the opening corner and it's the two McLarens who come out on top, with Perez ahead of Button and Rosberg behind. Vettel's lead at the front is 22 seconds back to Grosjean.

Lap 25Alonso ducks into the pit and that's his second stop for tyres. Remember, he had that DRS issue earlier that forced him into the pit twice unnecessarily. Will he even get a point today?

Lap 26A 2.7s stop from the Red Bull boys as Vettel rejoins in the lead ahead of Grosjean and Di Resta. Only a mistake or mechanical issue can cost the German the win today.

Lap 27DI RESTA down the inside of turn one and that's second place for the Scot. Button and Perez enter the same corner and it's Button who overtakes his teammate for sixth place.

Lap 28In comes Grosjean and it's a set of the medium compounds for the Frenchman, who rejoins in ninth place. Vettel is streaking clear of Di Resta at the front, he's nine seconds clear.

Lap 29A new FASTEST LAP of the race for Vettel as he zooms over the line in 1:38.649. This race really is sewn up already.

Lap 29TOP 10: 1 Vettel 2 Di Resta 3 Raikkonen 4 Webber 5 Button 6 Perez 7 Rosberg 8 Grosjean 9 Hamilton 10 Bottas

Lap 30CONTACT! There's a real squabble going on between the two McLarens as Perez nudges Button's right rear with his front wing. "Calm him down," Button tells the team. Ha!

Lap 32Button isn't letting Perez past but the Mexican is looking quicker at the moment as Button drives him off the road! Grosjean now joins the fight with the two McLarens.

Lap 33And yes, Grosjean passes Perez after some more contact. Button has moved away a little.

Lap 34RAIKKONEN moves up to second by overtaking Di Resta on the pit straight as GROSJEAN gets past Button as well. Great minute for the Lotuses.

Lap 35Is this Raikkonen's last pit stop? He comes in with 23 laps left and bangs on a new set of hards. Button also pits before rejoining in 12th.

Lap 37TOP 10: 1 Vettel 2 Di Resta 3 Webber 4 Grosjean 5 Perez 6 Hamilton 7 Raikkonen 8 Alonso 9 Massa 10 Rosberg

Lap 37It's been a really quiet race for Alonso since all those problems at the start. He's now seventh as Di Resta pits from second but will need to stop again.

Lap 38PUNCTURE! Massa's afternoon continues to unravel as his right rear again bursts. In he limps and it's a set of mediums that go on. There's 20 laps to go and I'm not sure they'll last until the end.

Lap 39Big collision between Rosberg and Webber but somehow they're go on seemingly unhurt mechanically.

Lap 39Raikkonen and Hamilton are on different strategies and the Englishman doesn't put up much of a fight before diving into the pit. He rejoins in 10th and should score some points today.

Lap 40The McLaren and Ferrari teams sprint out into the pit lane for Perez and Alonso. Both teams achieve good, solid stops and they come out in ninth and 10th.

Lap 41INVESTIGATION! The stewards are going to take a look at that Rosberg-Webber contact from a few laps ago.

Lap 42One final pit stop for Vettel and it's a bit sluggish but it doesn't matter at all as his lead is so huge. Grosjean then pits from second before resuming JUST ahead of Button for fifth.

Lap 44The Rosberg-Webber incident will be investigated after the race as Rosberg gets past Button as well. A little further back it's Alonso who's looking good trying to overtake Perez.

Lap 45Button is the meat of a Mercedes sandwich at the moment and it looks like Hamilton will overtake him shortly.

Lap 45And yes, Hamilton overtakes former teammate Button just after Rosberg had ducked into the pits. It's been a horrid afternoon for the pole-sitter as he comes out in 10th behind Alonso.

Lap 46Di Resta looks good for a podium at the moment but he's just been told that Grosjean is catching quickly. It would be a first podium for the Scot if he can hang on.

Lap 46Perez finally overtakes teammate Button and soon after it's Alonso who also sweeps past the 2009 world champion.

Lap 47TOP 10: 1 Vettel 2 Raikkonen 3 Di Resta 4 Grosjean 5 Webber 6 Hamilton 7 Alonso 8 Perez 9 Rosberg 10 Button

Lap 47As you can see, Alonso is now ahead of Perez despite the fact he's got no DRS. Great work from the Spaniard.

Lap 48There's 10 laps to go and although Vettel has the victory sealed, there's plenty of other action to look out for. Can Grosjean catch Di Resta and put two Lotuses on the podium? Will Hamilton catch Webber or Alonso catch Hamilton? Plenty to stay tuned for.

Lap 49HAMILTON all over the back of Webber's Red Bull and he can't quite get close enough this time around on the pit straight. He's looking to move up to fifth. The Mercedes clearly performs better with less fuel inside.

Lap 51Grosjean has cut the gap to 1.4s to Di Resta. Surely the Frenchman just needs to bide his time and overtake safely.

Lap 51Into fifth goes Hamilton as he gets past Webber on turn three. The Englishman has had an excellent second half of the race.

Lap 52GROSJEAN down the inside of Di Resta on turn one and the Scot's first podium finish will have to wait by the looks of things.

Lap 53Five laps remaining! The stewards are looking at an unsafe pit release from the Caterham team as they almost released him into a Marussia.

Lap 53Surprisingly Webber has got back ahead of Hamilton, who made a mistake on the final corner to let the Aussie get the run on him down the pit straight.

Lap 54That unsafe release from Van der Garde will be investigated after the race. There's a great battle now unfolding between Webber, Hamilton, Alonso and Perez.

Lap 54Superb racing between Alonso and Perez. The Mexican gives Alonso no room and he's out on the dirt and just about avoids slamming into the side of the McLaren.

Lap 55Toe-to-toe go Hamilton and Webber, this is marvellous stuff. Somehow the Aussie holds on to fifth place as they weave all over the track.

Lap 56TWO LAPS REMAINING as Vettel continues to streak to victory, setting a new fastest lap with a 1:36.9.

Lap 56Somehow Webber and Hamilton's cars are still intact as they drive ever so close. This is racing at its most skilful.

Lap 57Vettel's into his final lap as HAMILTON manages to use that pit straight to his advantage on the final chance.


Lap 57One of the German's easiest ever race wins surely? Raikkonen and Grosjean complete the podium.

Lap 57Di Resta comes home fourth and it's Hamilton and then PEREZ who overtook Webber on the last lap.

2.41pmFINAL TOP 10: 1 Vettel 25pts 2 Raikkonen 18pts 3 Grosjean 15pts 4 Di Resta 12pts 5 Hamilton 10pts 6 Perez 8pts 7 Webber 6pts 8 Alonso 4pts 9 Rosberg 2pts 10 Button 1pt

2.44pmHere's the new standings after that race:

1. Vettel 77pts
2. Raikkonen 67pts
3. Hamilton 50pts
4. Alonso 47pts
5. Webber 32pts
6. Massa 30pts
7. Grosjean 26pts
8. Di Resta 20pts
9. Rosberg 14pts
10. Button 13pts

2.46pmAll three men on the podium look happy with their result. There's a strange drum interlude before the national anthems of Germany and Austria to mark Vettel's triumph.

2.49pmThat's just about it from us. If you've only just joined us and want a recap of the race then read our report by clicking here.

Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes during qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix on April 13, 2013
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