Kimi Raikkonen won the championship opening race at 2013 Australian GP.
The first race of the season was equally drama filled to match its qualifying. Hulkenberg who had a good qualifying session yesterday, was not allowed to race due to a mechanical failure. The race started with a Redbull lock down on the front grid and the first turn was accident free. Vettel has a great start up front but his team mate Webber dropped down to 7th place by the time first few turns were done with. Both the Ferrari’s had a good start and were on Vettel’s tail in no time.
A 3-stop strategy was the normal scenario considered before the start of the race and all the top runners had early pit stops to go with it except Sutil and Raikkonen. It was this 2-stop strategy that made Sutil stay out longer and lead the race after all the top runners finished with their pit stops. Force India fans would have been very happy seeing their driver leading the race. What was good for the team was the fact that Sutil could keep Vettel and Alonso behind him for a good amount of time. This showed the competitiveness of the Force India cars with top leaders.
It was this 2-stop strategy who even allowed Raikkonen to win the race as he was able to save his tires till the last lap quite effectively whereas others struggle for grip and traction. The Iceman played a very silent race up until the last leg of the race where his Renault engine was able to provide enough power to keep him up ahead of the dangerous looking Alonso on his tail. By the end, even Alonso gave up as he knew chasing Raikkonen will mean losing tires which was not he could afford.
It was a disappointing race for the Redbulls who started on the front grid but could only finish 3rd for Vettel and 6th for Webber. Vettel just did not have enough pace to catch the Ferrari in the final laps while Webber was facing car issues since the initial laps itself.
Hamilton who finished 5th, never looked like he was having a chance to win the race. He will take some time to get his new team winning results because unlike qualifying where he looked strong, the longer version needs the whole team to be in sync which was missing. Perez who finished 11th, was similar in Hamilton’s old car. He could not generate enough pace to prove threat to anyone. It was a weak performance by both Mclaren drivers. Button, who finished 9th was out of the picture the whole race driving around his way till the end. Mclaren fans will definitely want the team to get better results after the powerful season they had last time around.
The Iceman was followed to finish line by Alonso in 2nd place and Vettel in 3rd. Force Indian finished 7th for Sutil and 8th for Paul.
The retirements of the race were Maldonado, Rosberg who looked good and Ricciardo.
Next we move to Malaysian GP on 22nd - 24th of March.