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Popular F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen wins Australian Grand Prix

Kimi Raikkonen from Lotus has won the Australian Grand Prix, after a tense battle with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso to kick off the 2013 Formula One season.
 Australian Formula One Grand PrixEnlarge
Race winner Kimi Raikkonen (C) of Finland and Lotus celebrates on the podium with second placed Fernando Alonso (L) of Spain and Ferrari and third placed Sebastian Vettel (R) of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing following the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit on March 17, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Clive Mason/AFP/Getty Images)

Kimi Raikkonen from Lotus has won the Australian Grand Prix after a tense battle with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso to kick off the 2013 Formula One season.

Raikkonen, Grand Prix world champion in 2007, drove his black-and-gold Lotus home 12.4 seconds clear of Alonso, with triple champion Sebastian Vettel 9.8 seconds behind that in third place.

Alonso's teammate Felipe Massa was fourth home, while Lewis Hamilton finished fifth in his debut drive for Mercedes, Australia's Fairfax media wrote

Mark Webber of Australia, Vettel's teammate who had qualified second on the grid in the Sunday morning session, disappeared early from contention.

Several media suggested that pit stops were key to Raikkonen's success — he made only two, for fresh tyres, compared with Alonso's three, according to the BBC.

The Sports Network quoted Raikkonen as saying:

"I was confident the tires would be okay. Near the end, I was still pushing, because I knew Fernando was catching up a bit. I had a very good car all weekend "

Reuters wrote that Raikkonen made just one stop in Abu Dhabi last year, winning for Lotus but not before telling his race engineer on the team radio to leave him alone: "I know what I'm doing.".

Raikkonen, 33, had "retired" and took two years out of the sport to try rally driving and NASCAR.

The second race on the F1 circuit will be at Sepang in Malaysia next weekend.
 

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