Fernando Alonso has enjoyed the dream start to his career with Ferrari after securing victory in the opening race of the 2010 F1 season in Bahrain.
The Spaniard had qualified on the second row of the grid for the season-opener, but was able to get ahead of team-mate Felipe Massa into the first corner and then benefitted from problems for pole man Sebastian Vettel to join the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio, Nigel Mansell and Kimi Raikkonen as a winner on his Ferrari bow.
The early stages of the race had suggested that Vettel was going to follow up his pole winning performance in qualifying with a winning start for Red Bull, as the young German made the ideal getaway when the lights went out to lead into turn one. With Alonso getting ahead of Massa behind, Vettel made his move to pull away and established a two second lead by the end of lap one.
Behind, Nico Rosberg jumped up to fourth for Mercedes ahead of Lewis Hamilton but Mark Webber lost out as his car fired out plumes of smoke heading into turn one, with the Australian dropping down to seventh place. Unsighted in the smoke behind, Adrian Sutil and Robert Kubica touched, with both drivers dropping to the rear of the field.
Vettel pulled out a lead of five seconds during the early laps prior to the drivers making what would be their only pit stop – for the leaders at least – with the German retaining his advantage once the stops were completed.
Alonso was able to find more speed after his stop as fuel levels dropped, and a series of quick laps saw him close on Vettel with Massa following closely behind the Spaniard.
With concerns over the possibility of Alonso overheating behind Vettel, and with Massa told to save his engine by engineer Rob Smedley, Vettel's hopes of a winning start to the year looked to be good until he suddenly slowed starting the 34th lap, reporting a loss of power with was later revealed to be an exhaust problem.
Vettel could do nothing to stop Alonso sweeping past into the final corner on the 34th lap, and then saw Massa take second on the run down to turn one, with his focus then turning to trying to get the stricken Red Bull to the finish.
Once Vettel was cleared, Alonso simply drove away at the front of the field, quickly extending his lead over Massa with a series of blistering laps and the Spaniard eventually took the flag with a winning margin of some 16 seconds over the Brazilian – who could still reflect on a solid return to racing for the first time since his accident in Hungary last year.