Sakhir, Bahrain – Fernando Alonso from Ferrari comes to one of his best tracks on the Formula One schedule after winning last Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix.
This weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix is round 4 on the 2013 calendar, and Alonso has won this event more times than any other driver. The Spaniard has claimed three victories in Bahrain since F1 started competing in this Middle East country in 2004.
Alonso won the Bahrain GP in consecutive seasons from 2005-06 when he drove for Renault. His most recent victory there came three years ago when he made his maiden start for Ferrari. Bahrain was the 2010 season-opener for F1.
In China, Alonso passed Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton for the lead early in the race and then dominated from there. He finished 10 seconds ahead of Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen for his 31st career F1 win but his first since the German Grand Prix last July (13 races ago).
Alonso started his season with a second-place finish in Australia but had a retirement in Malaysia after he damaged his front wing during an accident on the opening lap.
"I don't think we are the car to beat at the moment, just because we have this one victory," Alonso said. "In Australia, we were clearly not the quickest, and in Malaysia, we struggled a bit. In China, on race pace, Sebastian (Vettel) was quickest in all the stints but had chosen a strange strategy for qualifying.
"We need to keep improving and to be a little bit faster. There are some new pieces for this race and new components coming to Barcelona (May 12) and Monaco (May 26). So hopefully in the next month and a half, we can be at the level of the best cars."
Right now, Vettel from Red Bull leads the world championship standings with 52 points, followed by 49 points for Raikkonen and 43 for Alonso. Vettel, the three-time defending F1 champion, finished fourth in China. He placed third in Australia and then won in Malaysia.
"We need to be consistently on the podium if we want to fight for the championship," Alonso said. "Not having Sebastian on the podium in China is good news at the moment, only because he is currently leading the championship. I would feel the same if it was Lewis or Webber, for example, in the lead. It's not because it's Sebastian the person, it's because he's leading."
Vettel won the Bahrain GP for the first time last year.
Series: Formula One. Date: Sunday, April 21. Race: Bahrain Grand Prix. Site: Bahrain International Circuit. Track: 3.195-mile (5.412-kilometer), 15-turn road course. Start Time: 8 a.m. ET. Laps: 57. Miles: 182.115 (308.238 km). 2012 Winner: Sebastian Vettel. Television: NBC Sports Network.