By FOX Sports Staff
The Spaniard, who bowed out early following an incident within the first lap of the Malaysian Grand Prix, knew that he needed a strong result to fight his way back into championship contention.
In Shanghai, Ferrari executed a perfect three-stop strategy, allowing Alonso to overtake McLaren's Jenson Button for the lead in lap 22. From then on, he faced little problems and finished the race over ten seconds ahead of closest challenger Kimi Raikkonen.
It was a good return for Alonso, who had started the race in third but managed to overtake Kimi Raikkonen following the Finn's slow start at turn 1, and it means that he is now just nine points behind Vettel in the drivers' championship.
"That was a fantastic race from the start to the end," the race winner commented on the podium. Remarkably, it was also Alonso's first win since last year's German Grand Prix in July.
"The tyre degradation was better than expected, so we were able to manage the race really well.
"Overall, the start to this campaign has been very good, so we are optimistic."
Over the in-car radio Mercedes team principal Brawn was left breathing a sigh of relief to Hamilton.
Hamilton saw a late pit-stop by Vettel allow the German to utilise the newer tyres to execute a frenetic car-chase in the final two laps of the season. In the end, the Briton inched ahead by just two-tenths of a second to secure a second successive podium for his new team.
"Phew! That was close," said Brawn.
"We are not quite there yet, but we are not so far away so let's keep working hard."
Following his 20th consecutive finish, Raikkonen, meanwhile, said: "It was a pretty okay result after a bad start."
The Lotus driver damaged his front wing with a collision with Sergio Perez of McLaren but opted against going into the pit lane and somehow finished the race in second, ensuring no loss in position following his front row start.
"As for the incident with [Sergio] Perez, I went on to the grass and I hit him at the back which caused a lot of understeer, but we were still able to still fight for points."
Although pole-sitter Hamilton fell two places overall, he said: I'm really happy with the result."
"It's a great result for the team, we didn't have the pace of the two in front, but we'll keep pushing."