What a race this was in Bahrain. The tires, the grip, man and machine in the deserts of Bahrain.
Not since 2006 has F1 witnessed such a start to a campaign, with the reigning world champion claiming his 22nd career victory.
Behind the German, Lotus enjoyed their best race of the season as Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean joined Vettel on the podium.
For McLaren this was a desert disaster.
In front of a half-full main grandstand, and with every other stand empty, polesitter Vettel crushed his rivals after starting at the front for the 31st time in his career.
Vettel conceded to enduring “a difficult race”, in particular given his fuel situation towards the end.
Vettel was relieved “the strategy worked”, adding: “As I said yesterday, a tremendous thank you to the boys who have done a great job to get the car to my liking.
“It all came together for the first time this weekend. All in all I’m extremely happy.”
Achieving his best result since winning in Belgium in 2009, Raikkonen said: “We’ve both gained podiums and the team deserve what we achieved.
“It’s a positive result for the team and an important step.”
Celebrating his first podium in F1, Grosjean said: “I’m very proud of the team.
“We’ve shown our car is very competitive, in what has so far been a very tight season. Overall we can be very happy with what we’ve done.”
What a start to the season of F1. Back to the drawing board for some.