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Australian Grand Prix – Who was your Driver of the Day?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  18 Mar 2013   |  1:58 am GMT  |  366 comments

In a race which saw five different leaders, Kimi Raikkonen managed a two-stop strategy to perfection to come out on top and secure his 20th career victory in the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne’s Albert Park.

Fernando Alonso was the best of the three-stoppers, maximising his strategy to take second while Sebastian Vettel could not match his qualifying pace but dug deep to rescue what could prove a crucial third place.

Felipe Massa is back with a bang, outqalifying team mate Alonso and challenging for a podium, while Lewis Hamilton failed to make a two-stop strategy work, but battled hard to secure a strong fifth place on his Mercedes debut – well clear of his former team McLaren.

And what about Adrian Sutil? He came back from a year on the sidelines and rose from 12th place to lead the race before dropping to seventh as he struggled to maintain his pace on the super-soft tyres – but who was your Driver of the Day?

Kimi Raikkonen

Set himself up for victory with a brilliant long second stint on the medium tyres. Made an electric start from seventh, passing a number of cars, including the Mercedes of Hamilton, to run fourth after two laps. Kept pace with the leading trio, while conserving his tyres. A long second stint on the medium tyre provided the foundation for victory as it allowed him to make a two-stop strategy work – the only one of the top six who was able to do so. Inherited the lead and then pulled away, resisting a challenge from Fernando Alonso and even setting the fastest lap of the race at the end to show he had more life left in his tyres. Secured his 20th career victory and second for Lotus after his triumph in Abu Dhabi last season to lead the drivers’ world championship.

Fernando Alonso

Used the under-cut at the second stop to pass three cars for second place. Made a good start from fifth, taking advantage of a slow starting Mark Webber and passing Hamilton to run third. Passed team-mate Massa on lap one, but was repassed before the end of the lap. Used the under-cut to pass Massa, Sutil and Vettel before putting the hammer down in a bid to catch Raikkonen. Initially started to catch the Finn, but faded in the closing stages and almost collided with a Caterham while trying to lap the backmarker. Eased off the pace to finish second for a solid start to his campaign.

Sebastian Vettel

Produced another faultless performance in qualifying but couldn’t replicate that form in the race. Made a clean getaway from pole position, but couldn’t pull away from the rest of the field as he has so often done. Hauled back in by the Ferraris, but lost out to Alonso and Sutil at the stops. Spent several laps behind Sutil before finally passing the German for third but didn’t have the pace to catch Alonso or Raikkonen and settled for damage limitation and third place.

Felipe Massa

Outqualified Ferrari team-mate Alonso and though the Brazilian lost out to the Spaniard in the race, he still finished a strong fourth. Made a great start to run second after the first lap and showed good pace to keep up and then close on leader Vettel. Kept his team-mate behind him for the first two stints but lost out to Alonso when the Spaniard gambled on coming in earlier on his third stop and successfully achieved the undercut. Overall showed good pace throughout the race and finished a solid fourth.

Lewis Hamilton

Declared himself happy with fifth place on his Mercedes debut despite failing to make a two-strategy work. Lost out to both Ferraris at the start and then tried to conserve his tyres in the opening two stints. Heavily locked his front right tyre when trying to defend against Alonso which forced an early second stop. As a result, he was unable to complete the final 27 laps on that set of tyres, forcing him to pit for a third time before crossing the line in fifth.

Adrian Sutil

Led the race on two occasions but finished seventh as he struggled in his final stint. Started12th on the medium tyres and showed good pace the first stint while looking after his tyres. That allowed him to go deep into the race and take the lead while his rivals pitted early. Another good middle stint allowed him to retake the lead, but pushed too hard after his second and final stop on the super-soft tyres and went backwards, eventually finishing seventh. Nonetheless, it was an impressive performance in his first race back after a year out.

So who was your Driver of the Day? Leave a comment at the bottom of this story. 

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1

Yes as all have said Kimi deserves the credit. Many other good drives too. Sutil could have won l think if he made his hard tyres last a little longer. Mark Webbers race was interesting, during the warm up lap he lost all telemetry and contact with the pit wall. He was racing blind from the start. Drivers rely on the telemetry for just about everything they do in the car. l hope McLaren fix his ecu properly as he could have done well in melbourne.

2

Raikkonen, Alonso, Sutil

RAI – You can’t argue against a race win from 7th

ALO – same, P2 from 5th place start

SUT – 12th to race lead, held his pace, ended up P5, not bad at all

3

As I have posted before, I am new to the sport and in the USA, even worse to many Euro’s from Texas. So I know very little but some drivers I am starting to gravitate towards.

Vettal — Good and great personality

Hamilton — maybe its just his top gear appearances but good and charismatic

Those are probably my top two then it was great seeing Force India do good and I like Caterham and of course Williams is the team I like from my early F1 casual watching.

The Ferrari guys I just don’t know enough yet to make a decision. But I love Ferrari.

MClearen is by far my favorite car maker, Ferrari a close second. I like Button quite a bit but Sergio Perez rubs me the wrong way. Maybe he got off to a rough start with me when I was watching the Mcleren unavailing and his interview was not very flattering. Even the spokes women tried to real him in a little.

Lotus, man that John Player car was one of my favorites and even though this car looks similar I just don’t know it is so ugly now not sure if I can cheer for it too much.

4

Adrian Sutil

5

I’d give it to Sutil.

Kimi was very good, but it was a team effort, a combination of an excellent car, a good race strategy, great pit crew, and of course a really tempered, mature drive.

But Sutil did more with less in my opinion, and as it was his first race for yonks, it was really a sensational performance.

6

My three are

1- Kimi,

2- Kimi,

3- Kimi

7

Hi James, who is going to count the votes?

8

No-one. We’re not counting, just debating

9

Sutil

10

raikkonen has to be the driver of the day but i’m not sure if it was mainly his driving which won the race rather than the car and strategy.

i’d have appreciated it more if he worked to overtake the cars in front on track to win it. still an uninspired victory.

sutil needs to beat his teammate outright in qualifying and race without special help from the team.

roll on malaysia.

11

Kimi all the way! Controlled aggression and flawless drive. The cold and stormy sat qualy experience was well worth it to see my favourite driver win the race. Looking forward to Malaysia…

12

Esteban Gutierrez

13

1) Kimi: he drove the team’s strategy perfectly won my maximizing the tires and staying away from traffic

2) Alonso: he pushed forward consistently, took a lot of risks and ended in 2nd by changing strategy on the fly.

3)Sutil: he drove brilliantly but the strategy didn’t work.

14

Sutil, Alonso, or Raikkonen ?

Alonso, not doubt

15
Stone the crows

Kimi, definitely Kimi. Brilliant drive.

16

1 – Kimi because he made a trick strategy to work; for keeping an amazing pace and saving tyres; and for winning

2- Alonso for the right gamble and amazing pace

3 – Sutil – for the pace, a pity the strategy did not work

About Massa, to be a “driver of the day” you must be over the best, and Massa did what was was expected from a regular driver… nothing really special, that’s why he finished behind the better drivers. He is behaving as a dedicated employee – not as a champion. Maybe he will get a picture in the wall written “employee of the month”.

17

I went for

1. Kimi

2. Alonso

3. Massa

I explained my reasons here – http://fiveredlights.co.uk/2013/03/18/australian-gp-top-5-drivers/

18

Kimi Raikkonen all the way!

1. Had a great start

2. Did some great overtaking at right time(Hamilton & Sutil)

3. Set fastest lap on old tires

4. Gave a smile on podium

This years Lotus looks good in cold & hopefully they still maintain the edge in warmer conditions then we will surely see Kimi give some headaches to the likes of Ferrari & RB.

19

Hi James. Missing the online pole function…? Definitely Kimi. Solid form start to finish, but I wonder whether the Lotus’ tyres will last on a hotter circuit – remember last yr, promising at some races and not so at others.

20

Also, did you notice how the Redbull struggled behind other cars. Perhaps a weakness in their aero package…?

22

KIMI.

23

Kimi all day.

26

Bianchi, narrowly ahead of Raikkonen. He set a fastest lap quicker than 11 other cars! In a MARUSSIA!

27

Wrong ! Kimi was by far the best on older tyres than everyone too:

Fastest laps were

1 Kimi Räikkönen 56 1:29.274

2 Jean-Eric Vergne 50 1:29.498

3 Fernando Alonso 53 1:29.560

4 Mark Webber 45 1:29.732

5 Lewis Hamilton 45 1:29.759

6 Sergio Perez 46 1:29.926

7 Jenson Button 41 1:30.198

8 Felipe Massa 38 1:30.239

9 Romain Grosjean 41 1:30.395

10 Sebastian Vettel 42 1:30.409

28

I wanted to have a look at hulkenberg’s face after the race ended…after seeing SFI’s strong performance 😛

anyway..this was just the first race…sauber might still be better..

well done di resta & sutil (geez! di resta needs some support too…it’s sad to see force india fans so against him on the facebook page and everywhere else even when he was the only confirmed driver in the team…not his fault that his team-mate is always awesome 😛 …his performances have been pretty good too )

29

ooo and i was pretty worried about what was gonna happen when hamilton was right behind sutil…

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