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Kimi: 'Told you our car is good'

2013-03-17 10:07

FIRST BLOOD TO LOTUS: Kimi Raikkonen (centre) shares the Australian grand prix podium with second place Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso (left) and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel in third.

MELBOURNE, Australia - Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen won the Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix, indicating his team has the capacity to challenge its bigger rivals for the 2013 championship.

Raikkonen managed to pull off a two-stop strategy while his six nearest rivals all needed three, and took the lead for good on lap 43 of 58 in a race which had seven different leaders. The win made the veteran the 15th man in F1 history to record 20 grand prix wins.


Raikkonen said over his team radio: "Thanks everybody, I told you that the car is good."

Raikkonen, a former McLaren and Ferrari driver, made his comeback in 2012 after two years in rallying.

He said: "I knew I had a good car so I was confident we could have a good race. It was a pretty nice race. We are happy with the win but there's an awful lot of work to do to win the championship." 

It was the first season-opening win by a team called Lotus since American Mario Andretti won the 1978 Argentine Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso of Ferrari was second, while Red Bull's pole sitter and three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel was third, forced to pit after just seven laps due to worn super-soft tires.

Vettel said on the podium: "The first few laps were ok but then the tyres started to fall apart. Lotus and Ferrari had incredible pace and we were third quickest."

Ferrari's Felipe Massa was fourth, ahead of Lewis Hamilton in his first race for Mercedes and Australian local favorite Mark Webber of Red Bull.


Force India pair Adrian Sutil, who twice led the race and was the man overtaken by Raikkonen for the lead, faded to seventh and finished ahead of teammate Paul di Resta. McLaren's Jenson Button and Lotus' Romain Grosjean rounded out the top 10.

Eighteen cars finished the 58-lap race around the Albert Park street circuit with two retirements by Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo, while Nico Rosberg and Pastor Maldonado both encountered car trouble on the circuit.

The second race on the F1 circuit will be at Sepang for the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix on March 22 - 24.

2013 Australian Grand Prix results
Qualifying session two and three
Qualifying session one

First practice
Second practice
Third practice
Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 Australian Grand Prix.
Read more on:    f1  |  australian grand prix  |  ride  |  lotus  |  formula 1  |  race

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