The Formula One season got underway earlier today with a dramatic victory for Fernando Alonso on his Ferrari debut. He headed team-mate Felipe Massa by a comfortable 16 seconds at the chequered flag, with Lewis Hamilton third for McLaren.
Sebastien Vettel crawled home in fourth after mechanical trouble struck when leading – the German Red Bull driver had led from the start and was around 2/3s of the way to the flag when his car suddenly slowed. But he was able to at least salvage some points in front of the rapidly closing Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher, the McLaren of Jensen Button, and Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber, who had overcome his own mechanical drama at the second corner when he appeared to lose some oil in a cloud of smoke. Liuzzi and Barrichello rounded out the top ten.
Fernando Alonso on Flickr by Kike@ (used under CC Licence)
Some have already suggested this could be the start of an unstoppable season from Alonso, but that seems a bit presumptive – not only were the likes of Hamilton on a charge from the middle of the race, but Vettel was looking likely to win until his mechanical failure. And Schumacher made an inspiring return for a 41-year-old in a new car – and he didn’t get much time to test before the season began. As one of the few current motorsport champions to dominate so conclusively (Along with Valentino Rossi and Sebastien Loeb), he wouldn’t have returned if he thought it would tarnish his seven previous championship titles.
In other racing, Giacomo Ricci won the GP2 race in Bahrain, from Sam Bird and Alvaro Parente.
And in Sao Paulo, Will Power took the Indy 300 win for Penske, with Ryan Hunter-Reay in second, and Vitor Meira in third. Reigning champion Dario Franchitti was seventh, and Ana Beatriz took 13th as one of two female drivers in the series (Danica Patrick was 15th).
One interesting fact is that Lotus managed to return to both Formula One and Indycar on the same day. As the Lotus team were racing in Bahrain (Heikki Kovalainen finished 15th), IndyCar team KV Racing were fielding a Lotus Cosworth in Brazil with former F1 star Takuma Sato. Unfortunately after qualifying in 10th, the Japanese driver fell victim to a first lap incident.
In the two wheel world, Honda has launched the 2010 Honda RC212V at the pentultimate round of the Indoor Trial World Championship in Spain, which will be ridden by Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso. Meanwhile, Suzuki has also revealed images of the 2010 GSV-R to be used by Loris Capirossi and Alvaro Bautista. The season begins on April 11th.