Vettel Monza Friday practice © Getty Images

You could feel the disappointment in the garage when Sebastian Vettel was robbed of a first race victory due to mechanical problems at the opening Formula One grand prix in Bahrain.

The German driver had enjoyed 33 good, solid laps of the 49 in the race after starting on pole before he complained over the team radio of a lack of power. It was diagnosed as a spark plug problem and the result was a slide down the rankings to eventually finish fourth.

Eventual race-winner Fernando Alonso was the first past, followed by his teammate at Ferrari Felipe Massa. Lewis Hamilton also managed to get through, but Vettel found enough pace in the RB6 to hold off Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg.

It was a cruel end to his afternoon – especially as the Red Bull mechanics had managed a pitstop almost half a second quicker than other teams.

Vettel's teammate Mark Webber finished eighth. Smoke had poured out of his car over the first lap, but it was not as serious as it first appeared and the Aussie drove a solid race, just being pipped to the flag by world champion Jenson Button.

This means Red Bull Racing leave Bahrain in fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship race behind Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes. But this is a long season, there are a lot of points on offer... and a lot of fighting spirit left in the tank.


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