Kimi Raikkonen put himself on top Down Under with an emphatic and unexpected victory for Lotus in the 2013 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.
YAY! Kimi won. Lotus won.
I didn’t watched the race but I tried my best to follow the live timing from everything I can find on the internet. Let’s get to it, below are some of the reviews and analysis about the Australian GP 2013.
“Our plan was to do two stops,” said the Finn. “It’s always difficult in the first races to know when to stop. We got it exactly right, the team worked extremely well, we had a plan and we followed the plan, and it worked out perfectly for us.
“I could save the tyres and I could go fast when I wanted. It was one of the easiest races to win. Hopefully we can have more races like this.”
Raikkonen’s victory, from seventh place on the grid, was hard-fought and well earned, in a car that is fast and able to look after its tyres. The team looks like being a major title contender this year.
The race result seemed up in the air until 10 laps from the end. Raikkonen, who took the lead for the second and final time when he passed Adrian Sutil’s Force India with 15 laps to go, looked at that stage under serious threat from the flying Ferrari of Fernando Alonso behind him.
Raikkonen, 33, had done only two pit stops for fresh tyres while Alonso, whose Ferrari pitted three times, had set a series of fastest laps both before and after his final stop.
But once the Spaniard was himself past Sutil – soon to plummet to seventh place as a result of abusing the super-soft tyres he had to use for the latter part of the race – Raikkonen turned the screw and Alonso could not keep up.
One of the cars holding Alonso up in the first third of the race was theRed Bull of Sebastian Vettel, the man who narrowly beat him to the title last year. The Red Bull’s race performance – or more precisely the lack of it – was a surprise.
Through practice and qualifying Vettel, beginning his campaign for a fourth consecutive title, had looked unbeatable. Friday had suggested he had at least half a second on anyone else, and in qualifying he duly put the car on pole from team-mate Mark Webber by 0.42 seconds – and was 0.68secs faster than the first non-Red Bull.
And when Vettel takes pole, a victory normally follows as surely as night follows day.
Hamilton looked racy early on as his Mercedes went 12 laps on the supersofts, but though his lap times were competitive at times, the F1 W04 lacked the sheer pace to run with the big boys. He was able to reel in Sutil, however, as the German struggled for the final 12 laps on the supersofts.
McLaren had a deeply troubled outing, and Jenson Button was the first to swap from supersofts to mediums as early as the fourth lap. He ran in the lower midfield, fighting with Lotus’s Romain Grosjean for much of the race after the Frenchman made a terrible start. They crossed the line within 1.1s of each other, as the Lotus driver battled to hold off Button’s team mate Sergio Perez. Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne, who set the second fastest lap after a late tyre stop, was also in this fight after a feisty race, but dropped down to 12th after a move on Grosjean failed to come off.
What should concern the competition most, quite apart from Raikkonen’s prodigious pace throughout, was Lotus’ ability to propel him to this result without the more widely-used three-stop strategy. “It is a worry,” Alonso acknowledged, after Ferrari had to resort to three stops. “We have to analyse.”
While outwardly monosyllabic, Raikkonen proved that he remained quite the showman with the visor down. He waited until the penultimate lap to unleash his fastest lap of the race as Alonso sought in vain to hunt him down.
So Lotus did a great job on the 2 pitstops strategy, Kimi did an amazing job on his tyre management, Fernando drove greatly, Vettel struggled with his tyre but managed to get a podium (Feel bad for Nico Hulk who didn’t even get a chance to race his car). A great opening race for this season. Personally I’m looking forward to another exciting and remarkable race because I’m sure it’ll be tight for this year.
Lotus really unleashed the Iceman this year. Beware everyone.
Here’s to Kimi,