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MOTORSPORT: Kimi's Lotus tonic
9:30am Wednesday 20th March 2013 in Sport
Kimi Raikkonen proved he and Lotus have what it takes this year to become Formula 1 world champions after storming to victory in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
The Enstone-based team 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.
The 2007 world champion was joined by two-times title winner Fernando Alonso and reigning three-times king Sebastian Vettel on the podium.
Raikkonen had started from seventh on the grid after the second and third qualifying sessions had been held over until Sunday due to adverse weather on Saturday.
But he made his team’s two-stop strategy work to perfection.
“I was a bit disappointed from qualifying,” said Raikkonen. “I took it a bit too easy and made a small mistake at one point.
“It wasn’t the ideal starting place, but then it was still ten (positions) better than last year.
“The car had been feeling good all weekend, and we knew if we could make the front tyres last we would be fine.
“There were still a lot of question marks going into the race, but it turned out to be good, and hopefully we can have many more of these kind of races.”
And he added: “You can’t start the season much better than winning the first race and of course we hope we can be fighting at the front of the championship, but there’s a long way to go still and we need to keep pushing hard all the way.”
Raikkonen’s win ensured he tops the early drivers’ standings, but he had little time to savour the result as the season moves on to Malaysia this weekend.