Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen wins season opener in Melbourne!

2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen won the 2013 Australian Grand Prix from seventh on the grid by managing his tyres while being able to keep up good speed; the Finn only made two stops compared to his rivals who had to make an extra stop. Defending world champion Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, despite starting from pole and initially getting away in the lead, fell back as his tyres started to fade, losing out to both Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso, but held onto a podium!

It was definitely a good weekend for Ferrari, Alonso claiming second while Felipe Massa claimed fourth place, a much better start to the season for the Brazilian. It looks like Ferrari have a fundamentally good car from the outset in 2013, unlike their 2012 challenger. McLaren on the other hand have a nightmare of a car on their hands, claiming only two points from Australia courtesy of Jenson Button’s ninth place, new boy Sergio Perez finished just outside the points in 11th place.

Red Bull’s weekend didn’t go according to plan after qualifying with Vettel shuffling back to third from pole and Mark Webber having a nightmare start dropping from second on the grid to seventh, eventually recovering to sixth place, all-the-while being hampered by the Red Bull being hard on it’s tyres. Apparently the ECU supplied by McLaren Technology had to be reset during the parade lap, which likely contributed to Webber’s poor start! Time to go back to a pure mechanical system?

It was an OK weekend for Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton claiming fifth place on debut for Mercedes, but ran as high as second in the mid-stages of the race. Nico Rosberg failed to finish the race; retiring his Mercedes at half distance with an electrical fault, despite this, Mercedes appeared to be quite happy with their weekends work! Force India had a great weekend finishing the race in seventh and eighth ahead of both McLarens, Adrian Sutil getting the better of Paul di Resta on his return to F1 after taking an enforced year out after a Chinese nightclub scuffle after the Shanghai GP 2011.

The second Lotus of Romain Grosjean didn’t have such a good race as teammate and race winner Raikkonen; claiming a solitary point for tenth place. The Frenchman never really got back into the race after dropping from eighth to 11th off the start. It seems to me that Lotus’ wish to calm Grosjean has had a negative effect, the Frenchman has seemingly lost the speed he showed in 2012!

Overall, looking at the Australian Grand Prix; we could be in for another great season. No one team seems to have a big advantage; the tyres once again seem to be the big wildcard with so many teams struggling to get the Pirelli rubber to work for them, Lotus & Raikkonen being the exception!

Top 10 finishing positions for the Australian Grand Prix:

1. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 1:30.03.225
2. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) +12.400
3. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) +22.300
4. Felipe Massa (Ferrari) +33.500
5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +45.500
6. Mark Webber (Red Bull) +46.800
7. Adrian Sutil (Force India) +65.000
8. Paul di Resta (Force India) +68.400
9. Jenson Button (McLaren) +81.600
10. Romain Grosjean (Lotus) +82.700

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