A three-way tie for the lead of the 2007 world championship unfolded at Sakhir on Sunday as Felipe Massa won the Bahrain grand prix from pole.

Fernando Alonso is now joined by Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton at the top of the drivers' title standings, and Brazilian Massa just behind, after McLaren driver Hamilton on Sunday became the first ever rookie to finish the first three races of his career on the podium.

World champion Alonso, who led the championship alone prior to today's race in the Persian Gulf and finished a lowly fifth in Bahrain, genuinely lacked teammate Hamilton's pace, and was spectacularly overtaken on the outside of turn four by BMW's Nick Heidfeld.

It was a nightmare race for Honda, with Jenson Button going out in a first corner shunt and both Honda-powered Super Aguris retiring with apparent engine failures.

Red Bull were also in the wars, as David Coulthard suffered yet another technical problem and Mark Webber spun into retirement after his airbox wing broke.

Hamilton said: "We have definitely closed the gap to Ferrari."

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Alonso admits not quick enough in Bahrain

Joint championship leader Fernando Alonso on Sunday admitted that he simply could not keep up with the fastest four drivers at Sakhir.

While his McLaren teammate finished second, the Spaniard - explaining to reporters the "bitter taste" in his mouth - was just fifth at the flag after losing out to Kimi Raikkonen through the pit stops and also to BMW's Nick Heidfeld, who passed the reigning world champion with an audacious overtaking move.

"I was not competitive today and I was not able to lap at the right pace," Alonso said.

The 25-year-old said before the race that he was targeting the podium, but Alonso reported that he found "no confidence" and "poor" grip and handling in his Mercedes-powered racer.

Alonso also handed a compliment to Heidfeld, who passed him on the outside of turn four and brought his competitive BMW home fourth.

"We already know that he is one of the really good drivers," Alonso said.

"He drove a good race; he was three or four seconds behind Kimi in the end, so a strong weekend for (BMW)."

RBR reliability 'not good enough' - Webber

Red Bull's press release took the sting out of angry Australian Mark Webber's real post-race comments after the Bahrain grand prix on Sunday.

Webber said in the press release that his fuel flap becoming stuck open at Sakhir was "bloody frustrating", before his RB3 single seater's gearbox broke.

The release also quoted him as saying: "The pace was good, but the result is the same even so."

In the raw, however, 30-year-old Webber did not mince words, explaining that the faulty fuel flap is a recurring problem at the Milton-Keynes based team so far this year.

"It's frustrating to say the least, and it's not good enough," he angrily told reporters in the paddock, insisting that the Adrian Newey-penned car breaks down "too often".

Teammate David Coulthard's Red Bull also failed with a fiery driveshaft problem, having impressively overtaken more than ten cars after starting from the back.

Team boss Christian Horner said: "We need to get on top of these reliability issues very quickly, as obviously they're unacceptable."

Source: GMM