VETTEL GETS WINGS

DONE: Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel, left, of Germany gets his champagne spray after conquering the rain-soaked China track. 19/04/09. Pic. Andy Wong. © AP.
DONE: Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel, left, of Germany gets his champagne spray after conquering the rain-soaked China track. 19/04/09. Pic. Andy Wong. © AP.

SHANGHAI - German Sebastian Vettel gave Red Bull their first Formula One win with a pole to chequered flag victory ahead of team mate Mark Webber in the rain-soaked Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday.

SHANGHAI - German Sebastian Vettel gave Red Bull their first Formula One win with a pole to chequered flag victory ahead of team mate Mark Webber in the rain-soaked Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday.

The 21-year-old claimed the second victory of his career, with Australian Webber taking his best result to date, in a Red Bull one-two on a track that resembled a skidpan for much of the race.

"Getting the top two for Red Bull is incredible, I'm extremely happy," said Vettel, who took nearly two hours to complete the 56 laps.

"It was extremely challenging, there was a lot of aquaplaning ... really hard to keep the car on the track, sometimes it was like there was a river running down the track." Webber, who is a director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, said the race had been "right on the edge in terms of safety".

"Very tough race, very difficult conditions but a very rewarding result," said the 32-year-old, whose previous best result was third.

Briton Jenson Button, who won the first two races of the season, finished third to extend his championship lead to six points over Brawn GP team mate Rubens Barrichello, who was fourth.

"It's a great result for me," said Button, who now has 21 points.

McLaren's and world champion Lewis Hamilton, finished sixth after a late spin robbed him of a better result.

German Timo Glock was seventh for Toyota while Toro Rosso's Swiss rookie Sebastien Buemi won the final point in eighth.

There was heartache for Force India, still without a point since their debut last year, who had Adrian Sutil in sixth place until the German crashed out six laps from the finish.

Brawn have 36 points to Red Bull's 19,5 and Toyota's 18,5 but the misery continued for constructor champions, Ferrari, who have failed to score for the third race in a row.

Brazilian Felipe Massa's car ground to a halt during the second safety car period while 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen finished 10th.

Ferrari are now suffering their worst start to a season since 1981 when their cars retired from the first three races. They will be looking for a vast improvement in Bahrain next weekend.

Heavy rainfall meant the first eight laps of the race were run behind the safety car, which returned on lap 20 after one of the string of collisions and crashes in the race left debris strewn over the track.

Vettel, who became Formula One's youngest winner for Red Bull's sister team Toro Rosso in wet conditions at last year's Italian Grand Prix, had his share of good fortune and escaped unscathed when Buemi shunted into the back of his car on lap 19.

He emerged from the pits in third place with 19 laps to go and only had to wait for Webber and Button to make their final stops to retake the lead.

But with Button struggling with his tyres, Vettel passed him on the track before steering his car through the flood to victory. - Reuter

X