Kimi Wins In Australia!

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Updated: March 17, 2013

Kimi Raikkonen for Lotus has gone on the win to first race of the season in Australia, with the Ferrari and Red Bull cars of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel finishing the podium positions.

 After Q2&3 finally got under way Nico Rosberg continued his excellent driving in his Mercedes finishing first in Q2, but when it finally came down to it he appeared to lose his nerve only qualifying 6th in the end. A lot of people wouldn’t be surprised to see a Red Bull lockout and that is exactly what they did, with Sebastian Vettel starting from pole, and Mark Webber qualifying a respectable second.

On the other hand qualifying was absolutely abysmal for the 2 McLarens with Sergio Perez scraping through into 15th and Jenson Button only managing 10th. The last place of qualifying was taken up by the Williams rookie Valtteri Bottas, who did well to out qualify his much more experienced team mate.

On an interesting note Charles Pic in the Caterham failed to go faster than the 107% time set by Rosberg in Q1 but was still allowed to race in the end.

At approximately 06:00 GMT the race was under way with only 21 cars on the grid as Nico Hulkenberg’s Sauber had a fuel problem, so was unable to start. Vettel was quick off the line but as he has done so many times before, Webber bogged down at the start losing places left and right. Quite ironic considering he said this before the start, ‘Really looking forward to it, the car feels good, I feel like I’m driving well. Ready to go.’

On the other hand it was an absolutely cracking start by Filipe Massa in the Ferrari who jumped  forward past Hamilton and managed to get into second with his team mate slotting in behind him. Briefly Alonso got past but Massa wasn’t going down so easily, no team orders this time, and reclaimed the place.

Meanwhile Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus was all over the back of the Mercedes of Hamilton, eventually getting past him on lap 2, putting Kimi into 4th and making Lewis’ bad start even worse.

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No contact was made on the first corner

On lap 3 the two Ferraris were closing down the gap between themselves and Vettel, knocking it down to just 1.7 seconds, but nearer the other end of the grid Jules Bianchi was screaming through the field in his Marussia, going from 19th to 16th. A lap later and the Mclaren of Sergio Perez was doing well, getting into 11th from 15th. He was fairing much better than his team mate Jenson Button, who had to pit in as his tyres were just not working.

Lap 5 and Webber came into the pits for what would be a very slow stop, whilst a his team mate was looking nervously in his mirrors, with the 2 Ferraris bearing down on him, with Kimi just behind them. It was soon developing into an exciting race!

As it happend, whilst the Mercedes’ were good in the wet, they were rapidly losing pace in the dry with Lewis and Rosberg sitting in pretty in 5th and 6th. Perhaps unsurprisingly they had the 2 Force India cars in their mirrors, after both Adrian Sutil and Paul Di Resta had respectable starts.

Lap 7 and Massa takes the lead as Vettel darts into the pits for a quick tyre change. Vettel rejoins the track in 11th, just behind the Williams of Pastor Maldonado, just as Massa pulls in for his tyre change on lap 8. Massa comes back out of the pits behind Vettel and Alonso and Raikkonen do their first stops of the race, putting Hamilton into the lead. The pitstops also promote Perez to 4th but he simply couldn’t work the tyres and dropped down the order, with both Ferraris and Kimi’s Lotus sailing past him. Jenson was having similar woes, going round in 10th.

On lap 14 Lewis goes into the pits for a tyre swap, gifting the lead to Rosberg and particularly surprisingly, putting Adrian Sutil into second. Showing everyone he hadn’t lost anything, albeit even if he had moved up by default. A lap later Rosberg pits giving Adrian the lead.

He may have been in the lead but his tyres were old and and all he did was cause a small queue behind him, with Vettel and Massa getting stuck behind him. Despite being on old tyres and not necessarily being as good as the men behind him Sutil was holding his position exceptionally well until he inevitably pits on lap 21 .

Vettel goes into the pits after his team mate goes exceptionally quick on new tyres, but in a cruel twist of fate he comes out of the pits behind Alonso! All is not lost for Vettel though as he overtakes Sutil one lap later. Filipe has a practically race ruining lap as a tactical error brings hime into the pits, and back out again behind his team mate. Very disappointing especially after he was set for a points finish.

Sutil sets the fastest lap of the race on lap 25 and promptly gets right up behind Vettel, surely the reigning world champion won’t be beaten by a Force India? Meanwhile Pastor Maldonado starts his lap 25 in the worst possible way. He touches the outside of the track on the entry into turn 1, and the car spins out into the gravel trap, ending his race. In the end Maldonado happened to be the only retirement due to a crash all race.

On lap 27 Nico Rosberg has a disaster and pulls his car to the side of the track, his Mercedes apparently suffering a serious mechanical error. Such a shame after his impressive performance all weekend.

A few laps later rain began to come down very lightly on turns 13 and 14 but it didn’t appear to hinder anyone. By this point Kimi Raikkonen leads by 13 seconds from Lewis Hamilton. Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso makes an interesting addition to the top 10 at this point as well, running well in 9th.

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Mercedes didn’t get the result they’d like

On lap 32 Lewis attempts to defend his line from Alonso, causing a monumental lock up. He was giving it all he had but he was on failing tyres and that lock up was the final nail in the coffin, and he promptly pulls into the pits, putting Alonso into 2nd. A lap later though the rain stops and Vettel gets all over the back of Alonso’s Ferrari, with Sutil and Massa following closely. In the mean time Kimi Raikkonen is having the time of his life, cruising round 16 seconds ahead of everyone else.

A surprise fastest lap of the race by Ricciardo shows that the super soft tyres are the dish of the day, but unfortunatly for the Australian, he is down in 13th and 11 seconds behind Perez in 12th. Nearer the front though Force India are having a frankly amazing race, with their drivers in 4th and 6th. Kimi has his possible last pitstop of the race and comes out in 5th, just behind Massa. Hamilton on the other hand reports that he probably wont be able to make it to the enad on his current tyres.

A few laps later and another round of pits puts Vettel into 5th, behind Hamilton but in front of Massa, but Lewis is not match for Vettel on his rapidly waning tyres, and the German cruises past on the start/finish straight. Massa follows Vettel’s lead and goes past the struggling Mercedes as well, pushing Lewis down the order.

After the rest of the leaders come in for their final pitstops, Sutil once again has the lead, but by this time his tyres are at the very edge of their life, and it really begins to show. A few laps later both Kimi and Fernando sail past Sutil. Shortly afterwards Adrian pits and comes back out in 5th. Alonso appears to accept 2nd place and eases his charge on Kimi, increasing the gap to 7 seconds.

After an amazing drive, Adrian finally runs out of skill and lets Hamilton through putting himself back down in 6th, then gets passed by Mark Webber who appears to have made a comeback of sorts. Jean-Eric Vergne in the other Toro Rosso sets the fastest lap of the race, and proceeds to make some gains on Lotus’ Romain Grosjean, and also for the last points of the race.

Lap 55 and Fernando gets very wobbly whilst breaking to avoid a back marker, it’d be a shame to throw his race away now. He tries another last minute charge on Kimi but at this point it’s too little too late. Sergio Perez decides to have a go at Grosjean, but he just can’t make the move stick and has to settle for 11th, tantalisingly close to the points.

Kimi isn’t slowing down one bit, and sets the fastest lap of the race, and just a few laps later Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen takes the chequered flag! Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso comes 2nd, and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel comes in 3rd, a result which I think he was just a bit disappointed with.

Final Result

  1. Kimi Raikkonen-Lotus
  2. Fernando Alonso-Ferrari
  3. Sebastian Vettel-Red Bull Racing
  4. Filipe Massa-Ferrari
  5. Lewis Hamilton-Mercedes
  6. Mark Webber-Red Bull Racing
  7. Adrian Sutil-Force India
  8. Paul Di Resta-Force India
  9. Jenson Button-Mclaren
  10. Romain Grosjean-Lotus
  11. Sergio Perez-McLaren
  12. Jean-Eric Vergne-Toro Rosso
  13. Esteban Gutierrez-Sauber
  14. Valtteri Bottas-Williams
  15. Jules Bianchi-Marussia
  16. Charles Pic-Caterham
  17. Max Chilton-Marussia
  18. Giedo van der Garde-Caterham
  19. Daniel Ricciardo-Toro Rosso-DNF-Exhaust Faliure
  20. Nico Rosberg-Mercedes-DNF-Electrical Faliure
  21. Pastor Maldonado-Williams-DNF-Spun Off
  22. Nico Hulkenberg-Sauber-DNS-Fuel Pump Issue

Stay tuned for the Malaysian GP on March 24th!

F1 Article

By Harry Wright

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Twitter-@hazzwright

E-mail-hazz_wright@hotmail.co.uk

 

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