Formula 1 Melbourne 2013


Kimi Raikkonen won a race that could probably the most exciting and coincidental on in years to come. He qualified on P7, and then using a 2-stop strategy, he cruised to a win. This also tells us how the cars stack up in terms of one lap speed and race pace.

@Sutton Images

Melbourne 2013 and Abu Dhabi in 2012 were uncannily similar. In both race, Raikkonen on P1, Alonso on P2, and Vettel on P3. In both races, Webber qualified P2, and had a bad start. Another interesting fact is
that all the podium finishers were in sitting in the first row on Thursday's press conference. Coincidence? I think so.

The qualifying of the pace of the cars couldn't really be analysed in Australia because of the rainy conditions, which meant that no one was really pushing, and many made mistakes. Raikkonen, for instance wasn't happy with himself after qualifying 7th. He believed that if he had pushed slightly harder and not gone slightly out of shape at the last corner, he could've qualified on the second row. But Red Bull were quick as usual, and the Mercedes duo were fast as well. Vettel was 0.4 seconds faster than his team mate, and 0.6 seconds faster than Lewis Hamilton who qualified third.

The qualifying results,

11Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault1:44.6571:36.7451:27.40727
22Mark WebberRed Bull Racing-Renault1:44.4721:36.5241:27.82726
310Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:45.4561:36.6251:28.08729
44Felipe MassaFerrari1:44.6351:36.6661:28.49023
53Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:43.8501:36.6911:28.49326
69Nico RosbergMercedes1:43.3801:36.1941:28.52328
77Kimi RäikkönenLotus-Renault1:45.5451:37.5171:28.73827
88Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1:44.2841:37.6411:29.01325
914Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1:45.6011:36.9011:29.30523
105Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1:44.6881:36.6441:30.35724
1111Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1:45.9301:38.06719
1215Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1:47.3301:38.13419
1318Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Ferrari1:44.8711:38.77819
1419Daniel RicciardoSTR-Ferrari1:46.4501:39.04220
156Sergio PerezMcLaren-Mercedes1:44.3001:39.90018
1617Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1:47.3281:40.29019
1716Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1:47.61411
1812Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1:47.77610
1922Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1:48.14711
2023Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1:48.90911
2121Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1:49.51911
2220Charles PicCaterham-Renault1:50.626

The biggest shock was, watching the McLarens struggle. It's a ride height problem, so I expect them to be in the top 5 by China. Jenson Button made some good decisions in qualifying, so it wasn't a driver problem, and tyres benefit his driving style. The new faster degrading Pirellis also complement Kimi's driving style. Both Kimi and Jenson are kind to their tyres, and can use them very efficiently. They had problems with the 2012 tyres as they couldn't get them in their working temperature range due to their gentle driving style.

One race day, the track was dry, so the race pace of the cars was quite easy to figure out.

Red Bull doesn't have the race pace to match its qualifying prowess, or is it that Vettel isn't as good a driver as the others? He couldn't get past Adrian Sutil in a Force India on older tyres even though he was on fresher ones.

Mercedes is quick, but its not kind to its tyres, especially when Lewis Hamilton is at the wheel, and he is definitely not the smoothest driver around. Quick, but not kind to his tyres.

Ferrari has a good car. Nice to its tyres, and fast as well. Alonso knows how to get the best out of the car. Alonso was simply mega in Australia. He was smiling as well. He knows he can win the championship this year.

McLaren. No one has a clue why they are so off the pace. They might switch to the older 2012 spec car if the new car doesn't deliver. Jenson Button is furious. Although he might not show it, he definitely isn't a man who seems happy.

Lotus has the best car on the grid, its very very quick, and very kind to its tyres. Although Romain didn't impress by finishing 10th, I think he just had a bad day. Both Raikkonen, and Grosjean can extract the best out of the car. Raikkonen was the only driver who was comfortable pushing with a 2-stop strategy. He said he plenty to spare, and he simply wasn't pushing the car too hard. Kimi Raikkonen never lies, and it seems like the Lotus is the quickest car on in Kimi's hands on race day. Qualifying still seems to be an issue though. Kimi set the fastest lap of the race in the last stages of the race.

Force India was another surprise. It was very quick, especially in Sutil's hands. Although he wore down his super softs in the ending stages of the race when he went wheel to wheel with Hamilton in what could've been a very personal battle. They aren't the best of friends.

Sauber didn't put on a representative show as Hulkenberg didn't start the race due to a fuel line issue. Esteban, a rookie didn't really impress. So it's still to be seen how they stack up

Williams had a disappointing weekend, with Maldonado claiming the car was undriveable. Well he would, he if he got outqualified by his rookie teammate Bottas. Still, the car looks really slow.

Torro Rosso didn't impress much, but Verge put on a good show to finish 12th.

Caterham has the slowest car, and the drivers simply couldn't get anything out of it. Charles Pic didn't even qualify due to the 107% rule. An absolute horror show.

Marussia had a brilliant weekend, with Jules Bianchi impressing everyone in the paddock.

The final race standings,

17Kimi RäikkönenLotus-Renault581:30:03.225725
23Fernando AlonsoFerrari58+12.4 secs518
31Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault58+22.3 secs115
44Felipe MassaFerrari58+33.5 secs412
510Lewis HamiltonMercedes58+45.5 secs310
62Mark WebberRed Bull Racing-Renault58+46.8 secs28
715Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes58+65.0 secs126
814Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes58+68.4 secs94
95Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes58+81.6 secs102
108Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault58+82.7 secs81
116Sergio PerezMcLaren-Mercedes58+83.3 secs15
1218Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Ferrari58+83.8 secs13
1312Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari57+1 Lap18
1417Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault57+1 Lap16
1522Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth57+1 Lap19
1620Charles PicCaterham-Renault56+2 Laps22
1723Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth56+2 Laps20
1821Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault56+2 Laps21
Ret19Daniel RicciardoSTR-Ferrari39Exhaust14
Ret9Nico RosbergMercedes26Electrical6
Ret16Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault24Spin17
Ret11Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari0Fuel System11

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