The first race of the 2011 season took place this morning and just like in qualifying yesterday, the reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel was untouchable.
Starting from pole, the German took a comfortable lead whilst those behind him scrapped for position. This seems all the more impressive, as Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has confirmed that neither Red Bull actually had the KERS system on their cars. (For more on this, visit www.autosport.com)
Fernando Alonso was forced wide at the first corner losing several positions, whilst Vitaly Petrov moved his Lotus-Renault up to fourth.
Barrichello ran through the same gravel trap which ended his qualifying session and dropped him down to the back of the field. As the race progressed he moved back through the field well, but lunged into a poorly executed overtaking attempt on Nico Rosberg, which sent Barrichello spinning and Rosberg was forced to retire as smoke poured from the back of the Silver Arrow following the contact with the Williams. Barrichello received a drive-through penalty for his efforts, but retired later on with transmission damage, just as his team mate Pastor Maldonado had done earlier in the race.
Rosberg's team mate did not fare much better, Jaime Alguersuari touched the rear of Michael Schumacher's car on the exit to the first corner, puncturing his right-rear tyre. Although the former World Champion was able to return to the pits to replace the shredded tyre, he later retired from the race, believing the puncture had caused suspension damage.
A drive-through penalty was also awarded to McLaren's Jenson Button, who was deemed to have cut a corner whilst challenging Felipe Massa for position. The two Ferrari's of Massa and Alonso quickly switched positions behind Button, meaning he was unable to return the position to Massa without letting both scarlet cars pass.
Most drivers opted to use three sets of the new Pirelli tyre's pitting twice, but some - including Mark Webber - seemed to struggle with the compounds and pitted an extra time.
Sauber's Sergio Perez, however, only felt the need to stop once.
It was a great performance from the Sauber drivers, with Perez crossing the line seventh on his debut race, one place ahead of his team mate Kamui Kobayashi. However, the Sauber team were deemed to have infringed a technical ruling regarding to the rear wing, and both drivers have been disqualified. Sauber are believed to be contesting this decision.
The disqualification moved both Force India drivers into the points, with Paul di Resta finishing just behind team mate Adrian Sutil, so a successful debut for the young Scot.
Provisional race results:
1. Sebastian Vettel - RBR - Prediction 9th
2. Lewis Hamilton - MCL - Prediction 8th
3. Vitaly Petrov - REN - Prediction 17th
4. Fernando Alonso - FER - Prediction 2nd
5. Mark Webber - RBR - Prediction 6th
6. Jenson Button - MCL - Prediction 1st
7. Felipe Massa - FER - Prediction 5th
8. Sebastien Buemi - STR - Prediction 16th
9. Adrian Sutil - FOR - Prediction 12th
10. Paul di Resta - FOR - Prediction 10th
11. Jaime Alguersuari - STR - Prediction 14th
12. Nick Heidfeld - REN - Prediction 7th
13. Jarno Trulli - LOT - Prediction 18th
14. Jerome D'Ambrosio - VIR - Prediction 23rd
DNF Timo Glock - VIR - Prediction 22nd
DNF Rubens Barrichello - WIL - Prediction 4th
DNF Nico Rosberg - MER - Prediction 3rd
DNF Heikki Kovalainen - LOT - Prediction 20th
DNF Michael Schumacher - MER - Prediction 11th
DNF Pastor Maldonado - WIL - Prediction 13th
DSQ Sergio Perez - SAU - Prediction 21st
DSQ Kamui Kobayashi - SAU - Prediction 19th
DNQ Vitantonio Liuzzi - HRT - Prediction 15th
DNQ Narain Karthikeyan - HRT - Prediction 24th
Not a great first attempt by the Formula One Results Predictor. Hopefully with this new data, the next race will see an improvement!
For more information regarding the race, visit www.autosport.com