Raikkonen delivers for Lotus as he storms to victory in Melbourne curtain raiser while Hamilton finishes fifth in Mercedes debut
07:36 GMT, 17 March 2013
08:18 GMT, 17 March 2013
Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen stormed to victory in the Australian Grand Prix in his best race on the Melbourne circuit for six years.
Fernando Alonso came in second while Lewis Hamilton finished fifth in his first race for Mercedes.
Jenson Button finished a disappointing ninth for McLaren, while Sebastian Vettel came third for Red Bull.
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Triumphant: Kimi Raikkonen celebrates after winning the first race of the season
1-2-3: Raikkonen (centre) celebrates with second-placed Fernando Alonso (left) and third-placed Sebastian Vettel
Party time: The long wait for F1 fans was over at last as the season kicked off in style
Cruising: Raikkonen drives through the pit lane after driving the fastest lap of the race and securing victory
Finnish driver Raikkonen took the lead for good on lap 43 of 58 in a race which had seven different leaders.
Speaking on the podium, he said: ‘I was pretty
confident before the race. I thought it should be easy to do it.
‘I got a good start and it worked well. I had doubts because
it is the first race and I didn't do any long runs in the winter. But you have
to get through the first laps and go from there.
‘Fernando was catching me at some point so I just wanted to
make sure if the rain comes we have a big gap.
On song: Finnish driver Raikkonen of Lotus led the way in the Melbourne Grand Prix
No cigar: Fernando Alonso ran Raikkonen close but could not beat his rival
Down the rankings: Lewis Hamilton finished fifth in his first race for Mercedes
‘I was still taking it pretty easy. It was a pretty nice
race. Not too difficult.’
Lotus suggested during winter testing they had taken a step forward from last season, and they underlined that around Melbourne's Albert Park as Raikkonen took the chequered flag for the 20th time in his F1 career.
More to follow.
Holy smokes: Cars lock up their brakes as they approach the first corner of the Albert Park circuit
Frustration: Jenson Button drives in front of Mark Webber but neither driver will be happy with their finish
The gang's all here: The drivers pose for a group shot before the race
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