Alonso will be fuming over what he will see as Rosberg's dangerous blocking moves, and overall the Ferrari
form was still no better than the back end of the top ten, as proved by Alonso's finish in seventh place and Massa - who had driven like a man possessed in the first laps to try to hold off Raikkonen's early charge. All in all this was a good result for them in what they hope will be the last of their 'damage limitation' races before they return to Maranello and get down to some major revisions of the F2012 before Spain.
It certainly seems that Ferrari
are in a better shape than McLaren, who had a shocker. Their race started badly with Button's poor getaway and understeer, then there was Hamilton's slow first pit stop, and the race went rapidly downhill from there. Hamilton's second stop was almost as disastrous as the first (although if that was down to earlier wheel nut cross threading, it's possible that the damaged nut made further trouble inevitable in the circumstances.)
But the worst luck went to Jenson Button, who never appeared comfortable with the car despite repeated set-up adjustments every time he came into the pits, and was then wrecked altogether by a late puncture and finally a mechanical problem which forced the team to put the sick-sounded car out of its misery in the garage just before the end of the race. It certainly seems a very long time ago indeed since the team marched confidently into Melbourne and delivered a season opening win.
Button was still in the classified results, as was Bruno Senna who had retired a few minutes earlier, leaving only two cars listed as official retirements: Williams' Pastor Maldonado
exited the race on lap 26 after a burst tyre sent him into a dramatic 360-degree spin at turn 4, during which the pursuing drivers did well not to plough into him; and Charles Pic
stopped out on track soon after with an unspecified mechanical issue, the Marussia Racing team's first retirement this season.
As the dust settled on a thrilling and all-over-the-place, the fact that Sebastian Vettel
and Red Bull
were now back on top of the driver and constructors' world championships seemed to suggest that some sort of stability and normality had been restored to the F1, despite the unrest swirling in Bahrain outside outside the circuit perimeter. But that sense of calm and normality will likely last no longer than three weeks, when the next Grand Prix in Spain will no doubt throw the pieces up into the air all over again.
A fifth race of the year with a fifth different winning driver and team? No surprises for guessing just how much the Lotus team and drivers would love that to be the case; and no one would comfortably bet against it happening on this showing, either.