Racing Tread: The Australian Grand Prix

Formula 1, On The Record

Published on: http://www.ontherecord-unisa.com.au/?p=3870

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The Ice-man Kimi Raikkonen has done it again at the Australian Grand Prix, taking the top of the podium for the first round of the Formula 1 season.

The Finnish Lotus driver took the shock win, starting from his qualifying spot of 7th position.

Favourite for the race, Australian Mark Webber, suffered with wheel spin off the front row, falling back through the field before turn one.

The end of lap one was clean, with Sebastian Vettel leading the first, closely followed by Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.

Newly signed Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton battled with the front of the field, with Raikkonen ready to pounce closely behind.

Current World Champion Sebastian Vettel led away from his pole position before the leading contenders made their early first stops to change from the super soft compound to the medium rubber tyre.

Experimentation with pit-stops was the talk of the first race of the season, with many teams considering a two-stop race.

The majority of teams started their drivers on the Pirelli super-soft tyre, which shed quicker than the medium compound.

Teams then discussed that the two-stop strategy was “too risky”, as two sets of tyres would not withstand the race.

Force India thought otherwise, the team pressing the limit on the Pirelli tyres, with Adrian Sutil taking the lead once the lead pack went in for their first round of pit stops.

As the race pressed on, the front-running teams decided to take on the three-stop pit strategy.

Lap 25 of the race saw Pastor Maldonado spinning in the gravel and out of the race, with Nico Rosberg later retiring after an electrical failure on his Mercedes.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo also retired with 19 laps to go, after his Toro Rosso suffered a broken exhaust.

The two-stop strategy was seen as a failure by Force India, with Sutil drifting back through the field.

Good pit-strategy saw Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen take the race lead,  Raikkonen continuing to extend his lead as each lap went on to the final sprint.

Raikkonen took out the race by over ten seconds to Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso with third place on the podium going to RedBull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel.

The race was threatened by a light drizzle of rain, but was run mainly under dry conditions with no safety cars during the Grand Prix.

Final positions for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix:

Pos

Driver

Team

Time/Retired

Grid

1 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault Winner 7
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari +12.4 secs 5
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault +22.3 secs 1
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari +33.5 secs 4
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +45.5 secs 3
6 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault +46.8 secs 2
7 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes +65.0 secs 12
8 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes +68.4 secs 9
9 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes +81.6 secs 10
10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault +82.7 secs 8
11 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes +83.3 secs 15
12 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari +83.8 secs 13
13 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari +1 Lap 18
14 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault +1 Lap 16
15 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth +1 Laps 19
16 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault +2 Lap 22
17 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth +2 Laps 20
18 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault +2 Laps 21
Ret Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari +19 Laps 14
Ret Nico Rosberg Mercedes +32 Laps 6
Ret Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault +34 Laps 17
Ret Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari Fuel System
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