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The Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix came to a close on Sunday with Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel claiming his first victory of the season.

The two-time world champion held the lead throughout the race after starting on the pole position.

Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen was 3.3 seconds behind Vettel and finished second. Raikkonen's Lotus teammate Romain Grosjean finished third, followed by Vettel's Red Bull teammate Mark Webber.

The success of the race was in doubt for the past several days bacuse of the violent clashes between anti-government protesters and police, but it concluded more or less without incident.

There was heavy security cover for the event, with multiple checkpoints to keep protesters out of the race circuit . Armoured vehicles were kept ready to confront any possible protests.

The tight security arrangements kept protesters at bay and there were no sign of them during the race at the Bahrain International Circuit at Sakhir.

There were reports of police closing off villages to prevent protesters from coming out into the streets and armoured vehicles roaming around the streets.

However, earlier in the day, tyres were set on fire by the anti-government activists in Budaiya, west of Manama.

Fresh clashes were reported on Saturday after a Shiite protester was found dead on the rooftops of one of the buildings. The anti-government protestors say the activist, Salah Abbas Habib, was hit by a birdshot.

Meanwhile, in an apparent effort to ease the mounting tension ahead of the race, Bahrain's King Hamad al-Khalifa declared his commitment to reforms.

"I also want to make clear my personal commitment to reform and reconciliation in our great country. The door is always open for sincere dialogue amongst all our people," the statement read.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague spoke to his Bahraini counterpart to "call for restraint" in dealing with protesters, the BBC reported.

Amnesty International has called for the release of all the prisoners of conscience captured for their involvement in anti-government protests in 2011.