Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and Lotus celebrates on the podium after winning the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit on March 17, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.
Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and Lotus celebrates on the podium after winning the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit on March 17, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. Mark Thompson / Getty Images

Racer Raikkonen back in running for Forumla 1 world title

AFTER two years in the rallying wilderness, former world champion Kimi Raikkonen signalled he is ready to return to the glory days by winning race one of the 2013 Formula 1 season for Lotus in Melbourne on Sunday..

It was the second victory in Melbourne for the flying Finn - he won in 2007 before going on to claim the world driver's title for Ferrari.

No doubt the other teams will have a good look at the tyre strategy Raikkonen and Lotus used on Sunday.

While all of his other rivals employed a three tyre change strategy during the 58-lap race, Raikkonen elected to go for just two.

It certainly didn't seem to hamper him in at the finish, pulling out the fastest lap of the race with just two circuits remaining.

The 33-year-old did his best to downplay his chances of a second world title in 2013, saying he had been unsure how the race in Melbourne would work out.

"I had doubts because it was the first race," he said.

"I didn't know how the tyres would go ... how the car would go. But the car was very good all weekend. It was a pretty nice race."

Raikkonen came in more than 12 seconds ahead of Fernando Alonso, the man who replaced him at Ferrari at the end of the 2009 when the Finn left to spend two largely unsuccessfully years in the world rally championship.

Germany's Sebastian Vettel - F1 champion for the past two years for Red Bull - was third, a further 10 seconds behind Alonso.

Vettel started from pole but lost the lead after his first tyre change on lap seven.

He said he was satisfied to make the podium under the circumstances.

"Obviously when you start from pole you want to win," he said.

"But the tyres were falling apart so I was happy to get third place.

"I'm not worried about the pace of Lotus and Ferrari. It's a long season - there's no reason to be disappointed."

Vettel's teammate, Aussie Mark Webber, started from second on the grid but had dropped back to seventh by the first corner after a horror start.

Trying to win at his home race for the 12th time, Webber eventually came in sixth.

Eighteen of the 22 drivers managed to finish - unfortunately Aussie Daniel Ricciardo wasn't one of them.

The series now moves to Malaysia for race two this coming Sunday.

 

RACE FACT FILE

1: Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 1hr 30.03 minutes
2: Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) +12.451 secs
3: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) + 22.346 secs
4: Felipe Massa (Ferrari) +33.577 secs
5: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) + 45.561 secs


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