Kimi Raikkonen has thrown down the gauntlet to his challengers and leads the Formula 1 Drivers Championship after he convincingly won the inaugural Grand Prix of 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. The Australian Grand Prix started in chaotic fashion with a rain-hit Qualifying session being abandoned after Q1 and postponed to a couple of hours before the start of the race. Kimi Raikkonen had a clean start and gained a couple of places by the first corner, but it was the tyre wear of the Lotus and the way that Kimi handled the pace of the race that earned him his first victory at the inaugural Grand Prix of a championship in Australia since 2007. That was incidentally also the year when he went on to win the World Championship in dramatic fashion in Brazil. Grosjean had a quiet and uneventful race, much to the delight of the other drivers, to finish the day in tenth place.
Fernando Alonso who started in fifth place and behind his teammate, after forgetting to use DRS on his fastest qualifying lap, ended the day in a brilliant second place after looking to be stuck behind Vettel and a very fast Felipe Massa. Great strategy by Fernando and his Race Director, Andrea Stella saw him undercut Massa and Vettel to get ahead of them after just 10 laps on his second set of tyres (mediums) for the race. A great start along with Massa saw the two Ferrari’s muscle their way from fourth and fifth upto second and third by the end of the first lap. Alonso had a moment on la 55 when he almost went into the back of the Caterham of Charles Pic, Massa finished the day fourth after a strong first two thirds of the race after he decided to push on his 11 lap old medium tyres during Alonso’s undercut on lap 20.
Jean Eric Vergne finished the day in twelfth place while Daniel Ricciardo had to retire with a problem with his exhaust. A below par qualifying session and the lack of experience of Vergne showed that the Toro Rosso has some work to do, but they have a good chance of scoring some points if they can get themselves to the right places at the right time. But Vergne did show some good pace setting the fastest lap on lap 50, on tyres that were 18 laps old.
Sauber had a dismal start to the race as soon as they realised that a fuel system issue with Hulkenberg’s car would mean that he couldnt start the race and they could only field one car with rookie Esteban Gutierrez for the Australian Grand Prix. However he was the top finishing rookie and ended his first GP with a respectable and trouble free drive.
Valtteri Bottas had a good start off the line but a few mistakes into the race meant he lost some places and ended his first race in fourteenth place. Pastor Maldonado had a race to forget and his woes started on Saturday after being ousted in Q1 in the rain soaked qualifying session. Starting from P17 he ended up in the gravel at turn 1 after getting two wheels on the grass on the 25th lap.
On pure performance Jules Bianchi was our driver of the day, with the rookie finishing in fifteenth place, one lap ahead of and a best lap time 2 seconds faster than his team mate. In relation to the front runners his best lap time was 1.2 seconds slower than the fastest lap of the day, but this was aided by a last minute pit stop onto the supersoft tyres. His team mate Chilton finished two places behind but ahead on one of the Caterham of Giedo Van Der Garde.