Raikkonen wins Australian GP at Melbourne

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Kimi Raikkonen has converted a brilliantly working 2-stop strategy to a race wing for Lotus, immediately confirming the long run pace of the E21. Fernando Alonso finished in second place, 10 seconds behind while Sebastian Vettel completes the podium in third.

As the red lights go out to start the 2013 season, Sebastian Vettel makes a great starts and easily retains his first place. Felipe Massa immediately took the inside of the corner from Webber and jumped to second place, along with Hamilton who gained a place as well. Fernando Alonso went through the outside and passed Hamilton by turn 6, immediately challenging Massa for second place.

Webber meanwhile dropped to 5th and got passed by Raikkonen who in lap 3 moved up to 4th, but by that time a gap of 2 seconds has formed to the Ferraris ahead.

Behind Webber is Di Resta in 8th, followed by Button, Sutil, Grosjean, Pérez, Vergne, Gutierrez and Bottas.

On lap 6 Mark Webber is the first to pits, along with Grosjean. Interestingly now, Massa and Alonso have closed the gap to Vettel ahead while Kimi Raikkonen is hardly two seconds away.

At the end of lap 7 Vettel pits as well, handing the lead of the race to Massa, closely followed by Alonso and now also Raikkonen.

Massa pits just one lap later, rejoining just behind Vettel and Maldonado. Another lap later, Alonso and Massa pit at the same time, with both rejoining behind Massa and ahead of Maldonado. The later was kind enough to allow Kimi to pass by going wide through turn 1, plowing up some grass.

Surprisingly, Mercedes kept their cars on the supersoft for 3 to 4 more laps, losing nearly 2 seconds a lap. When both have pitted, Adrian Sutil leads the race, half a second ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

Sutil however seems to run long with his first set of tyres with ease and while backing up Vettel, the Ferraris and Raikkonen together a bit, he did not really come under any threat and pitted on lap 22 from the lead. Vettel joined him in, but Alonso chose to pit one lap earlier and got a huge undercut on the cars ahead, jumping both of them. Massa continued for two more laps and got back on track behind Alonso, Vettel and Sutil.

This means that in lap 24, Raikkonen leads, ahead of HAM, ROS, ALO, VET, SUT, MAS, DIR, VER, WEB.

On lap 27 Alonso and the pack closed the gap to Rosberg ahead, but the latter parked his car at turn 5 with obvious technical issues.

In lap 32 Alonso put up a lap long fight to pass Hamilton, and on the penultimate corner finally passes him, only to see Hamilton pit at the same time. This means that Alonso's 2.5s gap on Vettel disappeared in a single lap.

By lap 37, Alonso has again pulled an advantage of 5 seconds over Vettel. Sutil followed closely while Massa pitted in that lap. Raikkonen pitted 3 laps earlier but is running on one less pitstop. Vettel pits one lap later, followed by Button and Grosjean who were both very close together on track in the fight for P8.

In lap 39, Alonso leads 10s over Sutil. Raikkonen is 4 seconds behind in 3rd. At the end of that lap, Alonso pits and rejoins again aheadd of Vettel and Massa.

In lap 44, Raikkonen gets past Sutil and takes the lead. Alonso is about 4 seconds behind in 3rd. Vettel is 4th, 6 seconds down on Alonso while Massa is 3 seconds behind Vettel in 5th. Hamilton is 6th after his stop, followed by Vergne, Webber, Di Resta and Button. Grosjean is 11th and just out of the points right now, although just a few seconds behind the McLaren.

In turn 4 of lap 46, Alonso also passes Sutil and still is 4.5 seconds behind Raikkonen.

One lap later Sutil pits for a final 11 laps on the supersoft tyre. Sutil rejoined the track in 5th, behind Massa.

By lap 53, with 5 left to go, Raikkonen leads the race, about 6 seconds ahead of Alonso. Vettel is another 7 seconds behind. Massa is 4th, Hamilton 5th and Webber 6th. Sutil still 7th but he's struggling badly on the super soft tyres and may soon get company of Paul Di Resta, his teammate.

Apart from a fastest lap from Raikkonen on the penultimate lap, nothing changed and Raikkonen starts the season with an impressive win.

Results

Pos.NoDriverTeamLapsTimeGridPts
17Kimi RäikkönenLotus-Renault58Winner725
23Fernando AlonsoFerrari58+12.4 secs518
31Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault58+22.3 secs115
44Felipe MassaFerrari58+33.5 secs412
510Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG58+45.5 secs310
62Mark WebberRed Bull Racing-Renault58+46.8 secs28
715Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes58+65.0 secs126
814Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes58+68.4 secs94
95Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes58+81.6 secs102
108Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault58+82.7 secs81
116Sergio PerezMcLaren-Mercedes58+83.3 secs15
1218Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Ferrari58+83.8 secs13
1312Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari57+1 Lap18
1417Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault57+1 Lap16
1522Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth57+1 Laps19
1620Charles PicCaterham-Renault56+2 Lap22
1723Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth56+2 Laps20
1821Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault56+2 Laps21
Ret19Daniel RicciardoSTR-Ferrari39+19 Laps14
Ret9Nico RosbergMercedes AMG26+32 Laps6
Ret16Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault24+34 Laps17
Ret11Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari0Fuel System11


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