Jenson Button was left to rue the start-line glitch which denied the Honda driver a podium place at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
1 F Alonso (Renault)
2 M Schumacher (Ferrari)
3 K Raikkonen (McLaren)
4 J Button (Honda)
5 JP Montoya (McLaren)
6 M Webber (Williams)
7 N Rosberg (Williams)
8 C Klien (Red Bull)
Button, who qualified in third, dropped back to sixth after the first lap but battled back to finish fourth.
"It was a good afternoon after the first three seconds," said Button. "I went to go and nothing happened."
"We screwed the start, otherwise we would have been fighting with the two leaders, I'm sure of it."
As Button was languishing in the midfield, Fernando Alonso passed Felipe Massa to set up a duel with Michael Schumacher which the world champion eventually won by a whisker in his Renault.
"We were starting in front of Alonso - Alonso might not have got past Felipe Massa and we might have got past," Button said.
"This is the team's best result in the first race of a season. We haven't really ever had a good first race. We'll have a good second race in Malaysia [next weekend]."
While Button's travails were confined to the start of the race, Scot David Coulthard struggled throughout with his Red Bull car and finished 10th.
He was on course for eighth before a tyre problem slowed him and his Ferrari engine expired just after the chequered flag, bringing a 10-place grid penalty in Malaysia.
Coulthard, 34, said: "In the second part of the race I flat-spotted the tyre. I got a lot of vibration and my visibility had gone.
"I couldn't even read the dials on the steering wheel because of the vibration. I'm shaken up, my brain has been shaken in my head.
"I was wondering whether the front suspension was going to hold together. To cap it off my engine blew up on the in-lap. Great start.
"I wasn't entirely comfortable with it but the team felt I would lose more time pitting for tyres. With the benefit of hindsight, it would have been safer, and it would have been quicker."