March, 18 2013
Lotus F1’s Kimi Raikkonen beat Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix to record his 20th career Formula 1 win.
Starting from seventh on the grid the Finn eased past Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes and by the second lap had moved in to fourth.
Tyre management was to be Kimi’s strength on the day, pitting one less time than the front-runners, starting on supersoft compound tyres then moving to new medium versions on laps 9 and 34.
“I’m happy for the team and for myself,” said Kimi, who now equals the tally of compatriot Mika Häkkinen.
“We’ve had a quick car all weekend and there were no issues so we could just focus on trying different things and getting the set-up how we wanted. I had a good feeling that we would be ok with the tyres after practice and the team got the strategy perfect.”
Kimi now leads the Drivers’ Championship with 25 points to Alonso’s 18, while Lotus F1 occupies second position in the Constructors’ Championship with 26 points to Ferrari’s 30.
It was a great weekend for Force India, with a superb drive from new signing Adrian Sutil – who lead the race twice – and Paul di Resta, with both claiming 7th and 8th respectively and earning the team ten World Championship points.
“What a fantastic race and a great feeling … it was not long until I was leading the race – my first time leading in Formula 1,” said Adrian, who recently joined Force India to replace Sauber-bound Nico Hulkenberg.
“After my second pit stop I was back in the lead once again, so I knew that it was possible to come away with a great result. This result for the team is a perfect way to start the season and I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to the team once again.”
Third-placed Sebastian, who finished 22 seconds behind Kimi despite starting the race on pole, was happy with his performance.
“We can be happy with today. Clearly we wanted more, when you start from pole you want to win,” the reigning champ said. “I’m not worried, we have to admit sometimes that other people are faster. We were the third fastest car in the race today.”
The Malaysia Grand Prix take place at Kuala Lumpur on 22 – 24 March