Sunday, 17 March 2013

Raikkonen reigns down under - 2013 Australian Grand Prix Review

Kimi Raikkonen kicked off the 2013 season by taking victory in the season opening Australian Grand Prix. The 2007 champion held off a charging Fernando Alonso for the win, with Sebastien Vettel a distant third.

The start saw pole sitter, reigning champion Sebastian Vettel, charge off the line whilst his team mate Mark Webber went backwards as the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso passed the Australian. Lewis Hamilton also lost out to the the fast starting red cars at the start.

Vettel held a two second lead by the end of the first lap with Massa and Alonso giving chase. Kimi Raikkonen and Hamilton fought for fourth with the Lotus using it's good straight line pace to pass the Mercedes on the second lap.

Raikkonen then began to carve up the advantage held by the top 3 as the first round of pit stops began. Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Adrian Sutil all flirted with the lead as the top four pitted but the running order was restored during the second stint.

The Lotus team planned Raikkonen's strategy perfectly and the Fin was able to leapfrog Vettel, Alonso and Massa after the third round of pit stops.

In the end, Raikkonen took the win by 12.4 seconds, despite Alonso closing in. Vettel was unable to challenge the top two whilst Massa faded after a strong start to finish a still impressive fourth place.

Hamilton took fifth after a mid race change of strategy whilst local hero Mark Webber quietly recovered to come home sixth.

Despite challenging for the podium places, Sutil began to drop back in the closing stages as his fragile super-soft tyres wore down quickly. He wrestled his Force India home in seventh, just ahead of his teammate Paul di Resta. Jenson Button and Romain Grosjean rounded out the point scorers with Sergio Perez and Jean-Eric Vergne just missing out.

Rosberg ended a strong weekend prematurely with electrical problems. Fellow German Nico Hulkenberg however didn't even make the start of the race, a fuel system problem preventing the Sauber from making the grid.Pastor Maldonado and Daniel Ricciardo also failed to make the finish.

Esteban Gutierrez was the highest placed rookie finishing in 13th, ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Jules Bianchi. The other rookies, Max Chilton and Geido van der Garde brought up the field, with Caterham's Charles Pic finishing ahead of them.

Kimi Raikkonen also claimed the fastest lap of the race with a 1:29.274. He leads the drivers championship with Ferrari heading the constructors standings, 4 points ahead of Louts-Renault.

The season continues in Malaysia on March 24.

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