It was Sebastian Vettel's third win in Bahrain and the 44th of his career, a landmark that left him satisfied with his and the team's work which proved that Ferrari, who employed an aggressive strategy, are back as championship contenders.
Valtteri Bottas' lap was comfortably faster than Nico Rosberg's pole time last year of 1:29.493, but the overall speed of the new era 'fatter-and-faster' machines was less notable in the desert heat than it had been at the two previous races.
Sebastian Vettel survived a scare on Friday as he and Ferrari proved they are back as serious contenders for this year's world championship by topping both opening practice sessions ahead of this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.
Fernando Alonso is a two-time Formula 1 World Champion who currently races for British team McLaren.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton steered clear of a chaotic start to the Chinese Grand Prix and coasted to victory on Sunday, claiming his fifth title in Shanghai
The signs point to another furious battle between Mercedes and Ferrari but with rain forecast for the Chinese Grand Prix race day, Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo could fancy his chances after qualifying fifth.
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel leads the Formula 1 drivers' championship after winning the Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago.
Malaysian officials have said the Sepang circuit, which can accommodate 120,000 fans, drew just 45,000 to the 2016 Grand Prix, and TV ratings were also poor.
It was Sebastian Vettel's, four-time world champion fourth win for Ferrari and his first since Singapore in 2015 and his 43rd career win.
Lewis Hamilton will be looking to start the 2017 season with a win at Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.
The triple world champion bossed the field in the afternoon run to hold a half-second gap over Ferrari title rival Sebastian Vettel and his new Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
Liberty Media's takeover and the off-season departure of the sport's veteran commercial ring-master Bernie Ecclestone have coincided with an overhaul of the technical regulations to usher in a new breed of 'fatter and faster' cars.
The Formula One 2017 season starts with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 26.
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen led Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in the pre-season testing on Tuesday.
Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheets in the first session but the Briton Lewis Hamilton, taking over the wheel of Mercedes' imposing 2017 car from new teammate Valtteri Bottas, clocked the day's best lap of 1min 21.765sec.
Three-times world champion Lewis Hamilton's comments came on the eve of his Mercedes team's launch of their new car for the 2017 season.
The 212 strong workforce of Formula 1 team Manor have been sent home and will be made redundant next Tuesday after their salaries for January have been paid.
Bernie Ecclestone's time as the colourful ringmaster of the Grand Prix circuit was effectively finished on Monday when US-based Liberty Media completed its takeover of motorsport's most prestigious brand in a deal valued at about $8 billion.