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F1 Advent Calendar 2010 (Day 5) - Ferrari firsts - Fernando Alonso secures his first victory as part of the Italian team

Published by Christine

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Hello and welcome to the F1 Advent Calendar 2010, an extended mini series from Sidepodcast. This is our season review - twenty-five short shows recapping all the major events from the year gone by. Now we are starting the season proper, Day 5 - Ferrari firsts.

We were pretty excited ahead of the first Grand Prix weekend of the year. Button was making his debut in the double-champion line-up at McLaren, Michael Schumacher was making a comeback, there were unknown teams, a shake-up of the regulations, and Alonso was the new boy at Ferrari.

Friday was a surprising day, with Sutil and his Force India topping one session, and Rosberg in his Mercedes topping the other. By Saturday, though, Alonso was on top.

Qualifying saw the first inkling of Red Bull's supreme one-lap pace, and dominance over the entire field. Sebastian Vettel qualified on pole, with two Ferrari drivers behind him - and it was Massa who managed to pip Alonso to second place. The race was to change all that though.

The lights went out at the Bahrain International Circuit, and there was a clean getaway, aside from Sutil and Kubica, who got tangled up in smoke pouring from Webber's Red Bull, and fell down the field. Vettel streaked off into the distance, whilst Alonso almost instantly got past his teammate to take second place.

The racing itself left a lot to be desired, and it was really a matter of seeing which cars could make it to the end. Chandhok crashed out first, then di Grassi and Kobayashi suffered hydraulic problems. Petrov retired next, before Glock made it a double DNF for Virgin, with some gearbox troubles. HRT also had both cars retired, with Senna out next. De la Rosa, Trulli and Buemi were the final casualties.

Having said that, it was touch and go for Vettel, for despite leading the entire race, the team discovered a problem with the car, and he had to slacken the pace. Later, it was identified as a spark plug issue, but it meant that Sebastian couldn't keep up his lead over his rivals, and Alonso, Massa and Hamilton all managed to catch and pass him before the chequered flag was waved.

This was Alonso's first win of the year, and his first for Ferrari, at his first race for the team. That's a lot of firsts. Afterwards, as you can imagine, Alonso was ecstatic: "A very special day for me. Coming back the top of the podium is always special but even more special with Ferrari. We have history behind the team and all the expectations a driver has when he drives for Ferrari. There is no better way to start the relationship. This is the best team in the world..."

It wasn't all fun and games though, as the racing was dire. Even the paddock sat up and noted something was going to have to change. The lack of refuelling, and the simple mechanics of getting to grips with new regulations meant it would take a good few races before the comfortable sporting excitement we know and love would return. For us here at Sidepodcast, it did and will take a bit longer than that, but that's another story. For now, we return to Alonso. He won his first race of the year, in a similar fashion to Kimi Räikkönen's first win for the team. Of course, Kimi went on to win the title that first year as well. For Alonso, things would not be quite so easy.

That's all for this episode of the F1 Advent Calendar 2010. We are five days in to our twenty-five marathon mini-series. Thank you for staying tuned in, and please join me again tomorrow when we look at what Day 6 holds in store.

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