SAKHIR, Bahrain (AP) — Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo knows about the lows of Formula One as well as its highs, but he could not have suffered many more humbling days than he did at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.

Not only did he see his scarlet cars tour around mid-pack throughout, getting repeatedly passed by teams with only a fraction of the Italian team's budget, but he also witnessed the rapid destruction of his argument that the new-era F1 was boring and needed urgent rule changes.

Sunday's grand prix was hailed by most observers as one of the more exciting races of recent years, with copious overtaking moves and some thrilling wheel-to-wheel racing throughout the field.

While such a spectacle was a boon for the sport, it was a setback for the Ferrari chairman, who had been lobbying FIA chief Jean Todt and F1's commercial powerbroker Bernie Ecclestone intensely in the days leading up to the race, saying the sport's smaller hybrid engines had created uneventful racing and must be changed.

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, who finished second after a thrilling race-long battle with teammate Lewis Hamilton, managed a smile when aiming some pointed remarks at Ferrari and other critics who had leapt to judgment after just two races.

"There were recent criticisms but they will all be very quiet tomorrow, which is a good thing," Rosberg said.

The political defeat was bad enough, but made even worse by the uncompetitive showing of the Ferraris in the grand prix, with the richly-paid world champion drivers Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen finishing ninth and 10th respectively.

Early in the race when Force India's Sergio Perez cruised past Alonso on the main straight, race coverage showed di Montezemolo turning away from the garage TV monitors in disgust.

The long straights of Bahrain exposed Ferrari's chief weakness, which is lack of straight-line speed. That will be the main focus of upcoming midweek testing, which the team hopes will produce a turnaround in fortunes.

"We can't be happy with our level of performance and now our sole focus must be on working day and night," Alonso said after the race. "The season is in its early stages and we can stage a recovery. We have the resources and the potential to do it and it's all down to us."