Vettel had to fight past Rosberg and Alonso to win the Bahrain GP
Nico Rosberg's appearance on pole position on Saturday was unexpected
The top three drivers with Red Bull Racing's electronics guru Gill Jones
Rosberg, here leading Button, Massa, Grosjean and Perez, faded as he lost grip
Adrian Sutil qualified strongly but got delayed on the opening lap of the race
High temperatures at the desert circuit put the emphasis on tyre conservation
Lewis Hamilton had a quiet race but fought up to fifth in the closing stages
Team-mates Jenson Button and Sergio Perez staged a fierce tussle
Paul di Resta drove brilliantly and was unlucky to miss out on third place
The race was the fourth round of this year's world championship
Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel cruised to his second win of the season in the Bahrain Grand Prix today.
After shrugging off early challenges from surprise polesitter Nico Rosberg and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, Vettel soon seized control of the race, which was held in hot, sunny conditions and dominated by tyre strategy.
Rosberg's Mercedes chewed through its tyres quickly, and although he bravely fended off Vettel for the opening couple of laps, it wasn't long before the Red Bull driver slipped past and hit the front.
The Ferraris of Alonso and team-mate Felipe Massa looked strong in qualifying and started the race from third and fourth on the grid. Massa in particular looked good because he was starting on the more durable hard tyres, whereas most of his key rivals opted for the medium compound for the first stint.
But the Scuderia's race quickly turned sour. Alonso managed to briefly nip ahead of Vettel at the start, and then settled into third place until he had to make two emergency pitstops because the DRS rear wing flap had got stuck in the open position, robbing him of downforce in the corners.
Massa remained in the mix despite a clash with Force India's Adrian Sutil on the opening lap, but later in the race the Brazilian suffered two right-rear tyre delaminations and dropped down the order.
After that Vettel's main challenge came from Kimi Räikkönen and Paul di Resta, who turned in one of the most competitive performances of his F1 career. Both drivers opted to two-stop, which proved to be a competitive strategy.
Räikkönen had qualified poorly, but raced well to move up into contention for the podium. However, Vettel was able to pull out enough of an advantage in his Infiniti-backed Red Bull to ensure he was clear of the Finn when the world champion made his extra pitstop.
There was late heartbreak for di Resta, who lost the final podium position to Räikkönen's team-mate Romain Grosjean in the closing laps. Fourth place for the Force India driver equalled his best-ever Formula 1 finish.
Lewis Hamilton, who had started ninth after picking up a grid penalty for a gearbox change ahead of qualifying, endured a difficult race as he struggled with a lack of grip on the medium tyre compound, but steadily edged up the order and found some extra pace during the final stint.
He got the better of a feisty tussle with Mark Webber to seize fifth position at the start of the final lap, while the Australian hit tyre trouble and also ceded sixth to an aggressive Sergio Perez in the final corners.
Perez, who had his most convincing race since he joined McLaren, spent most of the race embroiled in a battle with team-mate Jenson Button. The pair even made contact at one point, which resulted in minor front-wing damage to the Mexican's car.
Button had to make an extra tyre stop in his Mercedes-powered McLaren and faded to tenth place, behind the recovering Alonso and the gripless Rosberg, who had a mid-race clash with Webber.
Bahrain Grand Prix, 21 April 2013
1 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)
2 Kimi Räikkönen (Lotus)
3 Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
4 Paul di Resta (Force India)
5 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
6 Sergio Perez (McLaren)
7 Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing)
8 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
9 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
10 Jenson Button (McLaren)