Sebastian Vettel passes Jackie Stewart, wins Bahrain Grand Prix

Grand PrixRed Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany, winner, second right, second placed Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland, left, and Lotus driver Romain Grosjean of France, right, stand on the winner's podium after the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix in Sakhir, Bahrain. (AP)

Defending triple world champion Sebastian Vettel extended his lead in this year's title race today when he claimed an impressive victory for Red Bull in an incident-filled Bahrain Grand Prix.

The race finished without any disruption amid tight security and despite earlier clashes between police and Shiite protesters in villages in the Gulf kingdom.

It was 25-year-old Vettel's second win in four races this year and the 28th of his career as he repeated his victory of 2012.

The German's victory saw him move into sixth on the all-time list of Grand Prix wins taking him past Jackie Stewart.

Starting second, Vettel took the lead on lap three and then controlled the 57-laps race as he came home 9.1 seconds clear of nearest rival Finn Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus.

"It was a fantastic race," said Vettel.

"I have to give a big, big thank you to the team today it was faultless from start to finish. The pace was phenomenal the car was great. We took good care of the tyres and it all paid off."

Frenchman Romain Grosjean finished third in the second Lotus, as the Renault powered team made the best of excellent tyre conservation.

It was the same first three as last year's race.

Grosjean denied fourth placed Briton Paul di Resta of Force India his first ever podium finish.

Briton Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 champion, fought hard to finish fifth for Mercedes after a late battle with Australian Mark Webber who came home seventh in the second Red Bull, Mexican Sergio Perez smashing his way to sixth for McLaren.

Two time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso, who lost the use of his DRS on his Ferrari, came in eighth ahead of pole starting Finn Keke Rosberg in the second McLaren.

Like many, Rosberg struggled with serious rear tyre wear. Briton Jenson Button finished 10th for McLaren after several clashes with his own team-mate Perez. On a sizzling hot day at Sakhir, Rosberg made a clean start to lead, but struggled to pull clear of the scrap behind him as Vettel and Alonso swapped places in second and third before, on lap three, the champion surged into the lead with a classic pass on the Finn.

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