Kimi wins in Australia!

163853249_2916527Yes, yes, yes yes. We clearly don’t know what we’re talking about. You Kimi/Lotus fans gave us a kicking last week for suggesting Lotus underperformed last year. We didn’t see how that would change for 2013. Well, it clearly has, hasn’t it? That was emphatic. Quicker, smarter and we suspect with a lot more to come, Lotus will be in it this year.

Raikkonen’s win over Alonso and Vettel was done with a car that’s clearly a lot easier on its tyres. When Kimi chose to wag his tail at the pursuing Alonso, he did it with tyres five laps older, and off the back of an opening stint on what are clearly good old fashioned qualifying tyres, good for a couple of laps in Q3 and very little else.

Lotus have hired former Red Bull race engineer and strategist Kieran Pilbeam, and together they figured on what a lot of folks have been saying, that the top ten on supersofts would not be able to undercut the Q2 group on mediums with their first stops, which started as soon as lap 4. Sure enough, early leader Vettel came up behind Force India’s Adrian Sutil and that was that for Red Bull’s strategy.

It’s important this. Pirelli are no longer bringing two adjacent compounds to the races, so instead of super softs and softs, for example, it was the super softs and the mediums this weekend. With a more explicit pay-off between speed (over one second a lap) and degradation (see how quickly Sutil’s late-race super softs fell apart), it puts the top ten at a possible disadvantage. The first team that can get its cars into Q3 on the harder compounds will be in a very good position indeed.

That didn’t happen in Melbourne, what with the delayed qualifying and everything, and the top ten on the grid was very much as predicted by practice; two Red Bulls on the front, then Hamilton’s Mercedes, the two Ferraris with Massa again ahead, Rosberg, then the two Lotus, Paul di Resta, then Jenson Button, who’s position had more to do with the weather than the pace of the McLaren. There is already talk that McLaren might do better to dig out last year’s car.

But in the race, the Red Bulls (Vettel third, KERS-less Webber sixth), Mercs (Hamilton fifth, Rosberg retired) and Ferraris (Alonso second, Massa fourth) all lacked the edge required to make the advantage they all had at one stage or another actually count. Team bosses blamed the weather; it was cold and damp all day. But, outside of Lotus, brows were furrowed . They all have a week until Malaysia to come up with some answers. Sepang, don’t forget, has a gruesome reputation for tyre slaying.

Other teams? Well Force India will be wondering quite how they translated a initial lead for Sutil into seventh place, and di Resta able only to take advantage of Rosberg’s retirement in eight. Sauber lost a car on the grid with fuel supply problems for Hulkenberg’s Q2 leading car. Interestingly Hulkenberg would almost certainly have found himself out in the lead, as Sutil did, once the top ten had pitted.

Sauber, then, are slightly behind Force India, but ahead of Toro Rosso and ahead of Williams who are in as much trouble as McLaren. At the back Marussia are ahead of Caterham allowing Brit debutante Max Chilton to finish his first race not last.

At the front? Well Lotus are the team to beat. Putting the others in order on Sunday’s pace is harder. It’s Ferrari, then Red Bull, then Mercedes on the basis of today, but it’s close. We’ll have another look at Lotus tomorrow, but its clear they have moved the game on, all of them. Even Kimi looks leaner and fitter. And more smiley, which is kind of odd. Things really are different at Lotus.

For the record then and for those who haven’t seen it finished like this; RAI, ALO, VET, MAS, HAM, WEB, SUT, DIR, BUT and GRO. Yes, that’s Romain Grosjean in tenth, the Lotus driver who was making all the news last year. Maybe he’s trying too hard to stay out of trouble. Sadly, and based on performance of his team mate, that won’t do either.

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Go Kimi! Now just keep it onwards.

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Great drive by Kimi.. Good pace from Alonso and an astonishing performance by Adrian, the results didn’t do him justice but they’ll learn from that and move on. If Romain can regain the pace he had last year without the infringements we could well see Lotus challenging McLaren and Ferrari in the constructors. Good Race :)

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That was a terrible race by Grosjean, he has to pick up some pace if he wants to keep his seat for 2014, but since it’s only the first race, I won’t jump to any conclusions, but a great drive by Kimi!

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Great race Massa….. But Ferrari won’t let you win again!!!

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In your face Top Gear! Told you so. Maybe this makes Lewis fan boy Michael Harvey take off his Lewis fan boy goggles and see the light.

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;)

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Please hire a writer. Better yet, a journalist. The above article reads like something written for TV; somewhat useless dialogue designed to accompany what the viewer just watched for himself. And if one didn’t watch the race, it reads like mostly gibberish.

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We told you LAST year that Kimi was the business..

At least the Lewis Fanboys, erm, I mean TopGear, used the opening sentence to admit what dafties they were about their “predictions”.

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I dont like to kick the lion when he’s down, but I’m afraid to say this column has got it wrong again. Classic overcompensation! Lotus won this race on strategy and the fact that the rest of the teams only just fell short of being able to make a 2 stopper work.
In terms of outright pace and downforce, Lotus are still behind Red Bull. Quali clearly shows us that RBR are still top of the tree, and when they get in the optimal tyre range and figure out how best to keep the tyres alive (which from last years experience will take no more than a handful of races), then they will be very hard to beat. On race pace, Lotus and Ferrari appear to be in the mix but by no means are Lotus the team to beat.
That being said, with Raikkonen’s talent and experience, and if the Lotus can keep pace in the development race, consistency may again give Kimi a chance of the championship.

Fascinating opening weekend then with a surprise outcome.
Same old F1. Predictable unpredictableness!

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Fantastic race from Kimi, a good start from Ferrari. It was an easy race( Kimi post race). This year looks promising and hopefuly lotus can keep the same level all year. Another headace for Ferrari and Alo.

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@Rayz I kinda disagree. Lotus cocked up the qualifying as usual like last year. The tyre wear aspect is real. At least early on in the season Lotus is way ahead of the rest. In F1 however, things change fast.

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Well done Kimi Rakkinoen, on your win today
great race overall by lotus.
good early pitstop, by Alonso got himself
a solid second place.

Massa was great today, looks back to form
and having fun driving again.
Hamilton surprised me, as the Mecredes was better
in race trim than expected.

Solid race overall, wished it rained harder so we
could have more action.
6 out of ten, for the Aussie grand prix.

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Awesome race from Kimi! Like some of the comments earlier TG should have given more credit to Lotus. Even if Lotus don’t have the outright pace they are fantastic on their tires which will be a massive issue this year it seems. Although I like seeing Ferrari beating RB, that was a very cheap tactic to push Massa behind Alonso and consequently behind Vettel. Looks like both Mercedes and RB are a little harder on tires compared to the Ferrari and ofcourse the Lotus.
But again, the whole weekend was damp/wet so the warmer climate in Sepang might give us a completely different story!
Bring on Sepang.

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amazing season debut to kimi, ferrari makes a good race
there’s signs of a competitive season !

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Yay Kimmi! I just wish his Lotus wasn’t so ugly.

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All this nonsens talking about World Championchip ………, it has been only 1 Race out of 19.

but anyway , Lotus has shown that they are up there with the Top Teams. Will be an interesting Season 2013 only MCLaren should sott out the new cars problem really quick , Button and Perez deserves better cars.

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How about the Force India? At least on the mediums, it seemed faster than the Red Bull. Its hard to believe that the pecking order is Lotus, Ferrari, Red Bull. The reigning world champions seem further back than that. Not that it matters since its just the first race. But its very surprising, nevertheless.

And who writes this blog for TopGear.com. Anyone knows?? Is it Jezza?

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McLaren… you better prepare your car for 2014.

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Atta Boy Kimi way to start the year off!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I would pay copious amounts of money to listen the TG three ramble about during an F1 race. Why doesn’t the BBC do this?

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Well done kimi!! you deserved it!!!
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