Raikkonen confounds bookies with comeback Australian win
The Finn wins F1 race by 13-seconds, despite firm favourite Vettel's prowess in qualifying
KIMI RAIKKONEN shredded his tyres and the F1 form book yesterday, confounding bookies to win the Australian Grand Prix by 13 seconds, leaving Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and firm favourite Sebastian Vettel, driving for Red Bull, to take second and third.
The Finn, who last won the F1 drivers' title in 2007 and launched a comeback last season, credited his success to a two-stop strategy. He told the press: "Our plan was to do two-stop... We got it exactly right.
"I could save the tyres and I could go fast if I needed and I could really drive very easily. It was one of the easiest races I've done. Hopefully we can have many more of this kind."
Writing in The Guardian, Paul Weaver says Raikkonen's thrilling victory came with "his tyres falling apart". But even with "rubber hanging from his car", he was quick enough to keep two great drivers safely in his mirrors.
The 'infamously uncommunicative' Finn - who once told his team by radio during race to 'leave me alone – I know what I'm doing' – informed reporters: "I'm happy with the win but it's only the first race."
David Tremayne, in Melbourne for The Independent, says it had been almost taken for granted that Vettel would win the race but the German afterwards "admitted he didn't see which way Kimi Raikkonen went". The fact that the dark horse won, writes Tremayne, suggests that "the 2013 grand prix season could be as hard to predict as 2012".
Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror's Byron Young mourns that Lewis Hamilton's "glory was restricted to leading the race twice" before finishing fifth, more than 45 seconds behind Raikkonen.
The "gloomy predictions came true" for Hamilton's old team McLaren with fellow Briton and former team-mate Jenson Button placing ninth. After a "disastrous" qualifying debut, Button's Mexican colleague Sergio Perez finished in 11th position, notes Young.
For Simon Cass, writing in the Daily Mail, McLaren's poor performance emphasised "just how much work lies ahead back at the factory in Woking". ·