Raikkonen 'Perfect' in Australia

Raikkonen 'Perfect' in Australia

Raikkonen 'Perfect' in Australia
Jorge A. Mondaca
Assistant Editor

Think Kimi Raikkonen has any second thoughts about his move to Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro?

Competing in his first weekend for the historic Italian outfit, the Finnish driver completely dominated the field at the ING Australian Grand Prix, starting from pole position and lapping all but six drivers en route to winning the 2007 season opener by over seven seconds.

The victory was Raikkonen’s 10th of his career, but first since the Grand Prix of Japan in October 2005.

From the start of the 58-lap event at the Albert Park Circuit, Raikkonen demonstrated that he was the class of the field by continuously setting fast laps that helped him build a 15-second lead over then second place Lewis Hamilton when he pitted for the first time on Lap 20. From there, he remained unchallenged throughout the event on his way to picking up the win.

"The car was perfect all day" said Raikkonen, who set the fast lap of the race (1:25.235) on Lap 41.

Ironically, Raikkonen’s former employer took up the remaining spots on the podium as two-time defending World Champion Fernando Alonso finished second in his debut race with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, while his rookie teammate Hamilton finished third at the 3.295-mile circuit.

England-born Hamilton looked set to finish ahead of Alonso after passing him on the first corner of the race, but despite holding off his much more experienced teammate during the first stint, he was unable to do the same after the final round of stops as Alonso took advantage of running two extra laps before pitting. Once ahead, the defending race winner was no match for the rookie.

Nonetheless, Hamilton became the first rookie since Jacques Villeneuve in 1996 to finish on the podium in his inaugural Grand Prix.

Nick Heidfeld, Giancarlo Fisichella, Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg and Ralf Schumacher completed the points’ finishers.

For Massa, sixth place was a deserving result after he was forced to start from 22nd place as a result of a morning engine change.

Further back, American Scott Speed did not have the race he expected as he retired from the event after just 29 laps. The Manteca, California native pulled off to the side of the track after experiencing punctures that severely dropped the pressure in the front tires.

"By the end of the first stint I was pretty much at the pace of the guys right in front of me, but I was struggling to keep the wheels on the track," said Speed. "Then, after the first pit stop the situation got worse and I had a bit of understeer, because evidently, we had a slow air leak in both front wheels."

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Re: Raikkonen 'Perfect' in Australia

I would allow myself to be man loved for a chance to drive an F1 car.

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