Germany's Sebastian Vettel, who drives for Red Bull and is the three-time defending Formula One champion and this season's leader, took the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.

Spain's Fernando Alonso, who drives for Ferrari, finished in 8th place after experiencing mechanical problems.

The 25-year-old Vettel, the defending champion in Bahrein, completed 57 laps on the 5.412-kilometer (3.363-mile) circuit in Sakhir in 1:36:26:245.

Vettel finished ahead of Finland's Kimi Raikkonen and France's Romain Grosjean, with the two Lotus drivers coming in second and third places, respectively.

The Bahrain Grand Prix, the fourth Formula One race of the season, was again marked by protests on Sunday.

Opposition members burned tires and clashed with police in Manama to protest against the emirate's rulers and the staging of the race.

Tens of thousands of people mounted anti-government protests on Friday, the first day of practice laps for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Bahrainis took to the streets in February 2011 amid the Arab Spring to demand political and economic reforms in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom, where a Sunni Muslim royal family rules over a population that is largely Shia.

The 2011 edition of the Grand Prix was cancelled after the government forcibly ejected protesters from Manama's Pearl Roundabout, igniting disturbances that left more than 50 people dead.

The 2012 Grand Prix was held under tight security. EFE