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Vettel forgets Malaysian storm with Bahrain win

Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany celebrates with the winner's trophy during the victory ceremony of the Bahrain F1 Gr
Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany celebrates with the winner's trophy during the victory ceremony of the Bahrain F1 Gr

By Alan Baldwin

MANAMA (Reuters) - World champion Sebastian Vettel won a Formula One race on Sunday without anyone kicking up a storm about it, at least inside the confines of the circuit.

The last time the Red Bull driver had stood on the top step of the podium was in Malaysia last month, with grim-faced Australian team mate Mark Webber and unhappy Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton alongside.

The triple champion had ignored team instructions in that race and overtaken Webber, who had done as he was told and turned down the engine to save the tyres and fuel, to 'steal' the win.

Hamilton had felt his team mate Nico Rosberg deserved to be on the podium instead of him after the German obeyed orders and stayed behind him.

The only controversy on Sunday was the race itself, held amid simmering civil unrest and international concern about alleged human rights abuses in the country after a crushed 2011 anti-government uprising.

Vettel, like most of the Formula One paddock, preferred to focus on the racing and an afternoon on which he was entirely dominant and became the first driver this season to win twice.

"If you race for victory, you try to pass whoever is in front of you so I think Malaysia is a long time ago now, I think we've moved on and I think that in terms of crossing the line first there's no difference," he said.

"But obviously we were in a better position at the beginning of the race already so a very, very different race in that regard."

Webber had started his 200th race well down the grid, after a three place penalty for causing a collision at the previous round in China, and only briefly ran in second place behind Vettel before his tyres gave up.

Vettel, now 10 points clear of Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen at the top of the standings after four races, was quizzed on the podium by former Red Bull driver David Coulthard about his grandmother's lucky charms on his racing boots.

"I've had them for a long time and they seem to work," he said. In truth, Vettel needed little help from them.

"I think he was untouchable today, I really do," said Red Bull principal Christian Horner.

The German agreed that he had been dominant in a car that, once he had barged his way past the Mercedes of pole-sitter Rosberg, was out on its own.

"The pace was phenomenal. The car was very quick and it just started to get better and better towards the end. Really, a beautiful race where you could push every single lap," he declared.

"In the end it was quite controlled. We managed the gaps and we still had enough tyres to push towards the end."

As so often, Vettel even managed to end with a flourish by setting the fastest lap of the race at the end when he could have take it easy.

Horner was not in the last surprised: "I think we know him pretty well by now," he smiled.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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