Kimi (da Sky pre gara):
La cronaca degli eventi…
Kimi "Today was a pretty busy day, because even if we were able to complete the planned schedule, we had some issues".
"During Fp1 we lost a bit of time, but that doesn”t prevented us from collecting enough data to a evaluation on the car behavior".
"This evening it will be a lot of work, especially to understand what went wrong and to try to improve ahead of qualify and the race."
“Front tires appear to be as weak as the autumn, the last, and it does not feel good at all.”
Kimi Raikkonen “Accident is my fault"
Kimi, can you describe what exactly happened during the accident please? And summarize the weekend especially since we have the impression that you’re currently struggeling more than Fernando.
The Friday did not go as desired, that is true. Today, Saturday morning it was better. We are with the car not where we would have liked. But it will come. In qualifying I first went with the harder compound on the track and when I went to get the soft it began to rain. But the car felt okay. In the rain this track is always tricky, so I went off. At the exit of the curve I turned at a number of buttons, the wheels spun a little too much so I lost the car and collided into the wall. The nose is broken, but otherwise the car is okay.
Seconds before you Perez came off in the same place. Did that play a role in the accident?
No, it was completely my fault. The mad thing is that I wasn’t attacking, I would have gone to the box in this lap anyway. In the previous lap in turn 5 there was a McLaren going slowly which was the reason that my time has not been better.
But again, we have the impression that you struggle with the Ferrari more than Alonso particularly with regard to the response of the engine and its power delivery.
No, it’s not like that. With the accident that has nothing to do and as for the handling, I have more trouble with the setup which I already noticed in winter testing. It ‘s not about the engine response. But as I said – it is slowly getting better. If you were to ask me however whether I feel comfortable in the car I would answer: no, not yet.
What role the weather will play tomorrow?
A street circuit like Melbourne is always tricky so it doesn’t matter if we drive in the wet or dry. But it ‘s strange, when the Formula 1 comes to Melbourne then the good weather always seems to say goodbye.
What can you do in the race?
This first Grand Prix is for all a step into the unknown. For myself it can’t actually go worse than in practice so we should be okay for the race. At which place it will end is impossible to say.
Have you practiced many starts?
Some. But if you’re doing a practice start here from the pit lane then that is also not the same on the grid.
How satisfied are you with the car in long run?
The long runs are characterized primarily by fuel saving. We should be there in good shape. We know about what we are capable. But we don’t really know what we should think of the competition.
What is Ferrari missing to drive on the level of Mercedes?
Hard to say. Let’s wait a few races to assess the balance of power properly. Whether we must adopt at the power unit or the chassis, now I can not judge. I would answer – we need to be better everywhere. But this sentence I would have said last year too.
How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with brake by wire?
That’s not my problem, even if I had locked wheels a few times. It actually works quite well. Again, the problems have more to do with the setup and in dealing with the tires. We know where we want to go there. But that will not happen overnight.
Da Speedweek.com traduzione Miezicat
"I already knew prior to the weekend that there are certain problems with the setup of my car. We have ideas on what to do with the car and the tyre but it will take a couple of races before we can get everything better."
"We did manage to improve it even during this weekend. The car felt ok at the start of the race but then the tyre started to degrade heavily and the behavior of the car changed."
"We’re going into the right direction but there are certain small things that we need to look at more thoroughly because they have a huge impact."
E quello che diventa per la stampa…
Da Autosprint n.11 del 18/03/2014
Da Raisport N.1
Dalla Gazzetta dello Sport del 17/03/2014:
Kimi Raikkonen says immediate fix to F1 Ferrari issues unlikely
Kimi Raikkonen does not know how long it will take to fix the issues he is having getting comfortable with the set-up of his new Ferrari Formula 1 car.
The Finn endured a troubled time at last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix as he struggled with the handling of the new F14 T, especially under braking and corner entry.
His problems were further exacerbated in the race by front tyre graining, which led to a number of lock-ups.
Ferrari and Raikkonen are working on fixes to the way the energy recovery systems impact on the car’s handling, but the 2007 world champion admits that things are unlikely to get better immediately.
"We know more or less what we want to do, but some things are not happening overnight," said Raikkonen.
"It takes time to produce certain parts, or to have a certain way of putting the things on.
"We also cannot promise that it is going to fix the issues once we get something that we want.
"I have been in these situations before and sometimes it takes a while.
"Unfortunately it is not the easiest position right now, but looking at how difficult everything was, we got everything out of it.
"It is not what we want to achieve but it could have been even worse. I am sure we can only get better from there."
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali reiterated that the team is doing everything it can to help Raikkonen, and he hopes progress can be made in time for the next grand prix in Malaysia.
"We need to help Kimi try to find the right balance in the car," he said. "He deserves that.
"There was an improvement [this weekend], but we are still not where we want to be.
"As a team we have to make sure that everything will be done to help his driving style and I am sure for Malaysia it will be much better."
Da Raisport, intervista del weekend:
Da Sky, drivers’ parade:
“Ask to change!”
Da Sky, intervista fine gara:
Da Sky Race Anatomy:
Raikkonen: Weekend difficile
“Oggi non è stata una gara semplice. All’inizio sono riuscito a partire bene e anche se alla prima curva sono stato toccato da una vettura che era dietro non ho subito alcun danno. La velocità era buona ma ad un tratto ho iniziato a soffrire di graining sulle gomme anteriori, avevo scarsa aderenza e molto sottosterzo, e da quel momento in poi il comportamento della macchina non è stato più lo stesso. Quando è arrivato il momento della prima sosta abbiamo dovuto effettuare un doppio pit-stop e questo mi è costato una posizione. Certamente è troppo presto per esprimere giudizi definitivi, perché anche se in questo momento non ci troviamo nelle condizioni migliori, siamo comunque riusciti a portare a termine la corsa, guadagnando punti importanti. Non possiamo essere soddisfatti di questo risultato e sappiamo di dover migliorare in molte aree, ma sono sicuro che l’analisi dei dati raccolti in questa prima gara ci fornirà un’idea più chiara della direzione da seguire”.
Pat Fry: “Alla vigilia della gara portare al traguardo entrambe le vetture sembrava il compito più difficile, ma alla fine l’obiettivo è stato centrato. Oggi abbiamo visto quanto l’affidabilità non si possa dare per scontata: oltre a sorprendere diverse vetture, in alcune fasi di gara ha limitato la nostra prestazione. Su entrambe le F14 T abbiamo sofferto qualche problema di natura elettrica, soprattutto su quella di Kimi, non riuscendo a sfruttare tutta la potenza a disposizione. […] Kimi ha fatto una grande partenza ma poi per gran parte della gara ha sofferto il graining sugli pneumatici anteriori e si è ritrovato costretto a difendere senza la possibilità di attaccare. Ora ci aspetta molto lavoro se vogliamo migliorare le prestazioni della vettura, davanti a noi abbiamo rivali molto forti ma anche tutti gli strumenti per colmare il divario tra noi e loro”.
Raikkonen suffered several lock-ups in the sister F14 T, as he battled in the lower reaches of the top 10, after getting clipped by Kamui Kobayashi’s brakeless Caterham at the first corner.
He said issues with tyre-graining after the first pitstop were to blame for his struggles, rather than braking problems.
"The brakes are fine, we grained the front tyre and then you have no grip on the front," said Raikkonen.
"That is the main issue, [but] it is a combination of things. It is not the easiest thing but I’m sure we will find a solution for it at some point.
"We work until we fix it. If it takes a week or a month, I don’t care. This is how it goes sometimes."
Australian GP: Nico Rosberg dominates in Melbourne for Mercedes
Nico Rosberg dominated the first race of Formula 1′s new turbocharged hybrid engine era to win the 2014 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne for Mercedes.
The German made a superb start from third on the grid, passing Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull and the polesitting Mercedes of team-mate Lewis Hamilton to grab the lead.
Rosberg made the most of the W05′s pace advantage to streak away from the field at will and record the fourth grand prix victory of his career, despite an early interruption by the safety car when Valtteri Bottas clipped a wall and shed the right-rear tyre from his Williams.
Rosberg’s team-mate Hamilton slipped back to fourth on the first lap as he struggled with an engine problem in his Mercedes.
After initial confusion as to whether he should soldier on, the 2008 world champion retired his W05 into the pits as early as the third lap of 57.
Australian home hero Ricciardo completed a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for Red Bull by narrowly beating McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen to finish second.
The world champion squad looked to be in desperate trouble in pre-season testing, but made enormous strides with its Renault-engined car in Australia, allowing Ricciardo to score an unlikely maiden podium in his first race for the team.
Things were less rosy for Ricciardo’s world champion team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who started out of sequence on the medium tyre after a disappointing result in qualifying on Saturday consigned him to a row six start.
His struggles with a lack of power from his Renault engine continued into the race and he joined Hamilton in retirement after only five laps.
McLaren rookie Magnussen completed the podium on his F1 debut, after surviving a wild oversteer moment shortly after the start. The reigning Formula Renault 3.5 champion beat team-mate Jenson Button to third spot by 3.2 seconds.
The 2009 world champion started down on row five after his final flying lap in Q2 was spoiled by yellow flags, but he used smart strategy to jump from the fringes of the top 10 to sixth as the safety car came out, then overhaul Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari and Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India at the second round of stops.
Williams driver Bottas overcame Jean-Eric Vergne’s wildly oversteering Toro Rosso and Hulkenberg in the closing stages to finish sixth, but will rue what might have been after a messy race.
The Finn starred in the early stages as he worked the Williams through to the top six from 15th on the grid, but the Finn touched the wall coming out of Turn 10 on lap 11 and broke his right rear wheel.
He avoided suspension damage and pitted for a replacement, before working his way back through the field.
A decent points finish was at least some reward for the raid Williams after Felipe Massa was wiped out by Kamui Kobayashi’s locked-up Caterham at the first corner on the first lap.
Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari beat the Toro Rossos of Vergne and F1 rookie Daniil Kvyat as these three completed the top 10.
Perez’s Force India, both Saubers, and both Marussias also made the flag as 15 cars in total made the finish.
Jules Bianchi finished eight laps down and unclassified after failing to make it off the grid, causing an aborted start and forcing him to start from the pitlane behind the Lotus of Romain Grosjean.
Grosjean made it to lap 45 before retiring his troublesome twin-tusk E22, while team-mate Pastor Maldonado and Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson also stopped out on-track shortly after half-distance.
Result - 57 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1h32m58.710s 2. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault +24.525s 3. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes +26.777s 4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes +30.027s 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +35.284s 6. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes +47.639s 7. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes +50.718s 8. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +57.675s 9. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault +1m00.441s 10. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault +1m03.585s 11. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes +1m25.916s 12. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari +1 lap 13. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari +1 lap 14. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari +2 laps 15. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari +8 laps* * Not classified Retirements: Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 43 laps Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 29 laps Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 27 laps Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 3 laps Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 2 laps Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 0 laps Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 0 laps Drivers' championship: 1. Nico Rosberg 25 2. Daniel Ricciardo 18 3. Kevin Magnussen 15 4. Jenson Button 12 5. Fernando Alonso 10 6. Valtteri Bottas 8 7. Nico Hulkenberg 6 8. Kimi Raikkonen 4 9. Jean-Eric Vergne 2 10. Daniil Kvyat 1 Constructors' championship: 1. McLaren/Mercedes 27 2. Mercedes 25 3. Red Bull/Renault 18 4. Ferrari 14 5. Williams/Mercedes 8 6. Force India/Mercedes 6 7. Toro Rosso/Renault 3
Da Raisport (PW: leavemealone9)
Australian GP: Kimi Raikkonen says traffic more costly than crash
Kimi Raikkonen says it was traffic, and not his trip into the wall, that cost him a chance of progressing into the final part of Australian Grand Prix qualifying.
The Finn sparked chaos in the closing stages of Q2 when he spun on the exit of Turn 3, nosing his Ferrari into the wall and bringing out the yellow flags.
The crash ended Raikkonen’s first Formula 1 qualifying session of 2014 on the spot, ensuring that he had no chance of improving beyond 12th position.
However, Raikkonen says traffic had already ruined his chances of going through to Q3, and that he was actually heading back to the pits when he spun.
"I didn’t have any more time to do an extra lap, so on that lap I would have come in anyway," he said.
"I was playing around with the switches or something, and I got a little bit of wheelspin and touched the wall. But the car is more or less OK.
"It was just my mistake. I got a little bit of wheelspin, I wasn’t pushing anymore, but I couldn’t catch it.
"That didn’t change the fact we had traffic on the previous lap. There was a McLaren going very slowly through Turn 5, and there were some other cars in front of us, but that’s how it goes sometimes.
"In the wet we had the speed, it was just the traffic."
Australian GP: Hamilton denies Ricciardo pole in damp, Vettel 13th
Lewis Hamilton claimed the first pole position of the 2014 Formula 1 season in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, while world champion Sebastian Vettel failed even to make Q3.
The Mercedes driver, on wet tyres, knocked Vettel’s Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who was on intermediate rubber, off top spot by three tenths of a second in the final seconds of a rain-hit session.
Nico Rosberg, who had briefly taken first place before Hamilton and Ricciardo improved late on, was third ahead of McLaren’s rookie Kevin Magnussen.
Both drivers, as well as fifth-placed Ferrari man Fernando Alonso, set their times on wet rubber with opinion split among the 10 runners as to which tyre compound was preferable.
Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne showed his wet weather prowess with a superb sixth place ahead of Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg, both setting their times on intermediates.
Behind the pair was debutant Daniil Kvyat, who impressed despite an off in Q3 on the run between Turns 10 and 11.
He took eighth place on wet rubber, ahead of Williams drivers Felipe Massa (intermediates) and Valtteri Bottas (wets), although the latter must serve a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change before qualifying.
Several of the drivers who failed to advance from Q2 to Q3 were unable to improve thanks to yellow flags caused by Kimi Raikkonen’s late crash as rain returned in intermediate conditions.
The Ferrari driver lost the rear at the exit of Turn 3 and spun into the wall, with Vettel among those who were attempting to jump into the top 10 at the time.
With both failing to make the cut in 12th and 13th, Jenson Button made it three world champions to fail to make the top 10 shootout in 11th.
Sauber’s Adrian Sutil, Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi and Force India driver Sergio Perez, who ran through the gravel at Turn 2 on his final flying lap, also fell in Q2.
Marussia driver Max Chilton was the fastest of the drivers to be knocked out in Q1, which was effectively ended at a point when most had managed only one run thanks to rain at the halfway mark.
Chilton was just 19 thousandths of a second slower than Kobayashi, who did make the cut but was unable to do better than 15th in the second stage of qualifying.
Chilton’s eam-mate Jules Bianchi, Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez (who will be hit with a five-place penalty for a gearbox change) and Caterham rookie Marcus Ericsson were also eliminated in Q1.
Joining them were the two Lotus E22s of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado, the latter not able to attempt a lap until the damp conditions late on and having two off-track excursions before aborting his run.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m44.231s 2. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m44.548s +0.317s 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m44.595s +0.364s 4. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m45.745s +1.514s 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m45.819s +1.588s 6. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m45.864s +1.633s 7. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m46.030s +1.799s 8. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m47.360s +3.129s 9. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m48.079s +3.848s 10. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m48.147s +3.916s Q3 cut-off: 1m44.331s ** 11. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m44.437s +2.173s 12. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m44.494s +2.230s 13. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m44.668s +2.404s 14. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m45.655s +3.391s 15. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m45.867s +3.603s 16. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m47.293s +5.029s Q2 cut-off: 1m34.274s *** 17. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m34.293s +4.118s 18. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m34.794s +4.619s 19. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m35.117s +4.942s 20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m35.157s +4.982s 21. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m36.993s +6.818s 22. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 107 per cent: 1m37.129s ** Gap to 1st in Q2 *** Gap to 1st in Q3
Australian GP: Rosberg dominates final practice in Melbourne
Nico Rosberg was comfortably quickest for Mercedes in third practice for the 2014 Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix, eclipsing second-placed Jenson Button by 1.391s.
The Mercedes W05 was clearly the fastest car on both of the available tyre compounds as both Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton led the times during early running on mediums.
Rosberg was the first to lap under 1m30s after swapping to softs, lowering the bar to 1m29.375s, and while Hamilton was fastest of all in the first sector in response, he lost time in the middle sector to end the session fourth quickest, 1.501s off Rosberg’s best.
Even though there were spots of rain before the green flag and it was generally cloudier than yesterday, with a gusting wind, the top runners quickly got into the groove and began to improve their times.
Button reported a litany of imperfections in his McLaren’s performance, from locking rear brakes to poor balance on corner entry and exit. But on soft tyres at the end he found enough speed to go second fastest overall, just over a tenth of a second quicker than Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard was the most assured of the Scuderia’s drivers, lapping comfortably while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen ran off-track more than once as he struggled with his car’s balance and finished the session 1.7s off the ultimate pace.
Daniel Ricciardo was quickest of the Red Bulls with 1m30.970s, accomplished on the soft tyres, but Sebastian Vettel was a full 2.880s off Rosberg’s best and finished final practice complaining of a lack of acceleration.
Williams had a less positive session than yesterday, with Felipe Massa propping up the top 10 and Valtteri Bottas completing just two untimed laps before parking his FW36. He will incur a five-place grid penalty after the team confirmed it would have to change his car’s gearbox.
Those teams whose new cars are in a less mature state of development continued to struggle. Esteban Gutierrez returned to the Sauber garage after reporting a gearbox problem and sat out the remainder of the session.
Both Lotus and Marussia had to use one of their six permitted ‘jokers’ to break the curfew on garage working hours, but they, along with Caterham, at least ran more laps than yesterday.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m29.375s 15 2. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m30.766s +1.391s 20 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m30.876s +1.501s 11 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m30.919s +1.544s 13 5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m30.970s +1.595s 13 6. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m30.978s +1.603s 16 7. Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1m31.156s +1.781s 12 8. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m31.251s +1.876s 22 9. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m31.665s +2.290s 17 10. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m31.723s +2.348s 20 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m31.925s +2.550s 17 12. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m32.255s +2.880s 14 13. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m32.417s +3.042s 16 14. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m34.184s +4.809s 15 15. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m34.188s +4.813s 16 16. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m34.413s +5.038s 19 17. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m34.717s +5.342s 15 18. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m34.754s +5.379s 15 19. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m36.159s +6.784s 21 20. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 2 21. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 2 22. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 4
Australian GP: Ferrari says sorting Raikkonen problems a priority
Ferrari says that sorting out the problems that are stopping Kimi Raikkonen getting the best out of his Formula 1 car is a priority.
Raikkonen had a difficult first day of practice in Australia on Friday, ending the second session eight tenths of a second behind team-mate Fernando Alonso.
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said the team needed to move swiftly to help Raikkonen.
When asked about the Finn’s performances, he said: "We need to make sure that all the things that are still not solved – not only on Kimi’s side – have to be solved or addressed very quickly because the competition is very strong and the time that we have available is not a lot.
"For me, the most important thing is to address and to solve the issue very quickly.
"The driver is not really the problem because I’m sure that both drivers will be able to manage the situation in the best way that they can, but there is still a lot of work to do."
Domenicali accepts that Ferrari is not the quickest team at the moment, but feels there are plenty of possibilities for the team to recover over the next few races.
"What we have to do is keep working on the things we know," he said.
"We need to improve and that’s the way it is.
"For sure there were different things to test and to try between the drivers, but that’s part of the normal programme we do.
"In my view today maybe you will see that some teams were a little bit hiding or having some issues for the day.
"Tomorrow the situation will be different again."
Australian GP: Lewis Hamilton puts Mercedes on top in practice two
Lewis Hamilton recovered from a disastrous morning to top the first day of practice for the Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix in his Mercedes.
The 2008 world champion stopped on only his second lap of the first session thanks to a sensor calibration problem, meaning he had not completed a flying lap heading into the afternoon.
Hamilton was one of the last of the frontrunners to set a time on fresh Pirelli soft tyres in practice two, waiting until the second half of the session before setting his time.
A stunning final sector allowed him to depose Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg at the top of the timesheets by 0.157 seconds.
Nobody else was able to get close to Rosberg, who had underlined the strength of Mercedes by setting the fastest time achieved on medium-compound Pirellis earlier in the afternoon.
Rosberg looked set to retain his position on the faster rubber after knocking Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, who was among the earliest drivers to bolt on the softs and briefly went fastest, off top spot at around the halfway mark of the 90-minute session, only for Hamilton to show his pace.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who was Rosberg’s closest rival on the medium rubber, ended up third fastest, half-a-second off Hamilton.
While the Spaniard was unable to match the Mercedes over the full lap, he was the quickest of all in the first sector at Albert Park.
Sebastian Vettel rounded out an encouraging first day of the season for Red Bull in fourth overall despite an off-track moment at Turn 1 early in the session having dropped a wheel onto the grass at corner entry.
He ended up three-quarters of a second down in fourth place, with team-mate Ricciardo sixth fastest, 0.157s slower than Vettel.
Splitting the Red Bulls was three times Australian GP winner Jenson Button, who was fastest in sector two but struggled with understeer.
Kimi Raikkonen was seventh fastest, although his session was interrupted by what is believed to have been a gearbox glitch when he was preparing for a practice start.
The lead Williams of Valtteri Bottas was eighth overall, 1.3s down, although on medium rubber the deficit to the Mercedes had been around half that.
Several drivers had off-track moments during the session, with Kevin Magnussen enduring a bumpy ride after running wide exiting Turn 12 early on and Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne going straight on at Turn 3 and through the gravel trap.
Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez also had a grassy moment exiting Turn 2 while scrapping for territory with Vettel.
Late in the session, Nico Hulkenberg locked the rears under braking for Turn 9 and spun into the gravel.
Almost simultaneously, Romain Grosjean buried his Lotus in the gravel at Turn 6 after losing the rear under braking and slapping the wall with the left-rear corner.
Only 19 drivers were able to set a time, with Kamui Kobayashi’s Caterham unable to run thanks to a "power unit-related fuel system issue" that struck in morning practice.
Team-mate Marcus Ericsson was at least able to get onto the circuit, but a hydraulics problem on his installation lap forced him to return to the pits and the team was unable to get him back out again.
Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado did leave the garage, but was unable to make it out of the pitlane after stopping with a suspected ERS problem that the team did not have time to resolve.
This rounded off a dismal day for Lotus, with Grosjean the second slowest of the drivers who did set a time before his late off.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m29.625s 37 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m29.782s +0.157s 31 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m30.132s +0.507s 28 4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m30.381s +0.756s 41 5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m30.510s +0.885s 33 6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m30.538s +0.913s 38 7. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m30.898s +1.273s 32 8. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m30.920s +1.295s 38 9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m31.031s +1.406s 34 10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m31.054s +1.429s 33 11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m31.060s +1.435s 35 12. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m31.119s +1.494s 31 13. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m31.283s +1.658s 36 14. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m32.355s +2.730s 36 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m32.468s +2.843s 26 16. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m32.495s +2.870s 36 17. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m33.486s +3.861s 29 18. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m33.646s +4.021s 12 19. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m34.757s +5.132s 29 20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1 21. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 22. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault
Australian GP: Fernando Alonso and Ferrari fastest in practice one
Fernando Alonso prevailed over Jenson Button as McLaren and Ferrari traded places up front in the first Formula 1 practice session of 2014 at the Australian Grand Prix.
Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were just hundredths of a second off Button’s pace.
But there was disappointment for pre-season favourite Mercedes, with Nico Rosberg only sixth fastest behind Daniel Ricciardo’s much-improved Red Bull, and Lewis Hamilton stopping on track on his out-lap.
Ferrari was first to break the silence as Alonso’s F14 T rumbled out of the pitlane and on to the track to complete a historic, if uneventful, installation lap.
Quite against the pre-season run of form, though, it was Mercedes that claimed the unfortunate accolade of being first to suffer a breakdown during a race weekend.
The session was but five minutes old when Hamilton came to a halt at the exit of Turn 8, a wisp of smoke curling from the rear of his W05 as its engine shut down in response to an oil pressure warning.
Hamilton returned to the pits with his helmet in place, visor down, cold-shouldering an official who requested sight of his pass at the paddock gate.
In contrast, four times world champion Sebastian Vettel lounged on the pitwall with his overalls tied around his waist as his team-mate Ricciardo became the first driver of the weekend to complete a flying lap.
Sergio Perez was the first to spin and Daniil Kvyat the first to explore the gravel trap at the exit of Turn 1, followed in short order by Toro Rosso team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne, with the team having numerous excursions through the session amid braking system issues.
Ferrari, McLaren, Force India and Toro Rosso were busiest in the first half of the session, each running multiple-lap stints with both of their cars, although Kimi Raikkonen’s programme was interrupted by an ERS-K failure that Ferrari fixed within 25 minutes.
As in testing, Mercedes-powered cars covered the bulk of the mileage, but Red Bull has clearly made some progress on reliability; Ricciardo amassed 26 laps and Vettel, after sitting out most of the first hour, ran one installation lap followed by a five-lap timed run, and then another four in the final minutes to go seventh fastest overall.
Both Williams drivers embarked on multiple stints, making good use of the extra set of Pirelli tyres permitted during this session.
Bottas did the most running in the first hour before Massa took to the track, and while the Brazilian veteran was initially faster, Bottas subsequently eclipsed his time and was quickest of all in the middle sector.
Plenty of teams reported teething troubles: McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen alluded to engine problems over the team-radio and Button was not getting lap time readouts on his steering wheel.
Marussia had a low-key session, with Jules Bianchi completing two three-lap stints while team-mate Max Chilton set a time on just one of his four laps.
Besides Hamilton, four other drivers failed to set a time. Both Caterhams completed just one installation lap before returning to the garage for attention to problems with the electrics on Marcus Ericsson’s car and the fuel system on Kamui Kobayashi’s.
Neither Lotus emerged until the final quarter-hour, and Pastor Maldonado promptly deposited his E22 in the gravel at Turn 13 on his installation lap before cruising back to the pits.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m31.840s 20 2. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m32.357s +0.517s 23 3. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m32.403s +0.563s 27 4. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m32.431s +0.591s 19 5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m32.599s +0.759s 26 6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m32.604s +0.764s 17 7. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m32.793s +0.953s 10 8. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m32.847s +1.007s 28 9. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m32.977s +1.137s 18 10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m33.446s +1.606s 30 11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m33.533s +1.693s 23 12. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m33.855s +2.015s 24 13. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m34.272s +2.432s 27 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m35.578s +3.738s 7 15. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.445s +4.605s 13 16. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m40.859s +9.019s 6 17. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m46.922s +15.082s 4 18. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1 19. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1 20. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1 21. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 2 22. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault
GP d’Australia – Raikkonen: “Un nuovo inizio”
Melbourne, 13 marzo – Lo scorso anno Kimi Raikkonen ha vinto il Gran Premio d’Australia ma su una vettura diversa, la Lotus. Il finlandese è ora invece al volante della Ferrari con la quale debuttò vincendo proprio qui nel 2007: “È l’inizio di una nuova stagione, vediamo come va”, questa la posizione di Raikkonen alla conferenza stampa del giovedì con i giornalisti: “Sono con un nuovo team, ma ho già gareggiato con loro e quindi l’adattamento è stato molto più semplice”.
La familiarità con pista e team non significano che il pilota di Espoo abbia già un’idea di come può andare questo weekend: “Ogni stagione porta con sé degli interrogativi, il loro numero di solito dipende da come sono andati i test” – ha affermato – “Quest’anno, con un cambiamento di regole piuttosto radicale, è un po’ più complicato cercare di comprendere a quale livello siamo e dire che cosà potrà succedere, anche se ciascuno ha un’idea di massima di quanto vale. Credo però che sarà necessario attendere le prime gare per farsi un’idea più chiara dei valori in campo. Per questo non ha molto senso arrovellarsi per cercare di capire la nostra competitività in questo momento. Alcune squadre sono sembrate un po’ più veloci di noi nei test, ma qui è tutto diverso, a cominciare dalla pista visto che Albert Park è molto differente dal circuito del Bahrain. Secondo me può succedere di tutto. Ovviamente io voglio vincere e spero che saremo in condizione di farlo e di giocarci il campionato. Le condizioni meteo potrebbero rendere questa corsa ancora più difficile e con le nuove regole si potrebbe materializzare un quadro piuttosto diverso rispetto a quando potevamo gareggiare con più benzina a bordo”.
Come ci si poteva attendere da un personaggio come Kimi, non è che aver vinto due volte ad Albert Park lo abbia fatto particolarmente affezionare al circuito: “Non credo che questa pista sia particolarmente speciale anche se a Melbourne vengono tutti volentieri” – ha dichiarato – “Dal momento che è la prima gara della stagione, di solito c’è sempre qualcosa che rende la gara eccitante, ma non è detto che perché ho vinto qui l’anno scorso io parta favorito. L’obiettivo è portare a casa più punti possibile, speriamo di non avere troppi problemi e di vivere un weekend senza intoppi. Se andrà così, credo che sarà interessante verificare dove ci troveremo rispetto ai nostri avversari”.
Per quanto riguarda l’approccio al weekend di gara da parte di Kimi poche e chiare parole: “Ci sono diversi ambiti in cui dobbiamo ancora migliorare parecchio ma spero di trovarmi a mio agio con la vettura fin dalle prove libere di domani”.
GP d’Australia – Ferrari: Alonso e Raikkonen alla premiere per lo 059/3
La stagione sta per entrare nel vivo. Venerdì la Scuderia Ferrari sarà impegnata nelle prove libere della prima gara del campionato. Osservata speciale del 2014 la nuova unità motrice, che sarà caratterizzata da un propulsore turbo da 1,6 litri coadiuvato da due recuperatori di energia, uno che la ricava dalla frenata e uno che invece sfrutta i gas di scarico caldi del turbo. Al power train della Ferrari, denominato 059/3, è stato dedicato un documentario da parte dello sponsor Shell che lo ha mostrato in anteprima in un evento al quale hanno partecipato anche i due piloti della Scuderia Kimi Raikkonen e Fernando Alonso.
I due, dopo essersi cimentati in un’originale gara a bordo di biciclette collegate a dinamo che alimentavano due modellini di Ferrari lungo una pista elettrica, sono stati interrogati dai giornalisti sull’imminente weekend di gara. Kimi Raikkonen ha posto l’accento su uno degli aspetti della corsa australiana: “Per il nuovo formato della Formula 1 questa gara è un ottimo banco di prova perché Albert Park è una pista molto esigente sotto il punto di vista dei consumi. Per le caratteristiche del circuito qui si è sempre consumato molto carburante e riuscire a risparmiarlo sarà una sfida impegnativa”.
Per Kimi è l’inizio della seconda carriera in Ferrari: “Alcune facce sono cambiate, ma anche se l’atmosfera sembra un po’ diversa per me è sempre la stessa grande squadra e credo abbia lavorato molto bene sulla vettura di quest’anno”. Poi sulla gara: “Abbiamo avuto a disposizione pochi giorni di test, in un mondo perfetto saremmo arrivati con molti di giorni di pista alle spalle, con più esperienza sulle caratteristiche della vettura e sulle strategie di gara. Non è così ma è lo stesso per tutti, quindi non ci resta che scendere in pista e provare a ottenere il miglior risultato possibile. Gli altri? Non li temo e anche se ci sarà qualcuno più veloce di noi siamo solo alla prima gara. Al di là del risultato noi sappiamo che abbiamo ancora tanto da fare sulla F14 T quindi non ci spaventiamo. La vettura sembra avere un buon potenziale, ma per tirarlo fuori c’è da lavorare”.
Raikkonen, Alonso say podium Ferrari’s goal for F1 2014 opener
Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso believe that Ferrari can target a podium finish in Melbourne’s Formula 1 season opener this weekend.
Although there is great uncertainty about the competitive order ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, Ferrari’s drivers are upbeat that their team has the possibility to put together a fairly strong start to the year.
Raikkonen reckoned that it was impossible to state whether or not Ferrari could challenge favourites Mercedes for victory, but believed his team could be in the mix near the front.
"It is difficult to say [if Ferrari can win]," he said. "It is the aim for sure, but there are so many unknowns coming this weekend.
"Maybe we did not have the best test in the last days, but I think we have done most of the things that we were planning to do.
"We have to see how we start, try to do our best and try to be up there, finish the race and hopefully be on the podium at least.
"We can only do our best and see where we end up, and if we do everything right we should be up there."
His belief about a Ferrari fight back if it does not start the season strongly was echoed by Raikkonen.
The Finn said: "We try to do the best that we can and, if there are other teams that can be faster, that is the case sometimes. But we haven’t done any racing.
"Wherever we are going to be we know we have some work to do, and we will do it.
"And hopefully whatever the situation is on Sunday, we try to turn it around and make it better."
Great way to start
Obviously, winning the race as soon as the season starts, netting 25 points in the championship and getting the fastest lap time, feels good. I could not have asked for more.
The main reason to be happy with the first weekend of the racing season was, however, the feeling I had with the car. As I thanked the team in the radio after the race, I really meant it: We have a good car!
In Australia the race went very well, but we could have done better in the qualifying. It was a strange session split in two days. I had done the qualifying on Sunday morning only one before long time ago in Japan, and, while it¹s the same for everybody, it was still quite tricky to get the lap together in those conditions.
After qualifying everything went as we planned. We had decided to go for two stop strategy after Friday practise and it was exactly the right way to go. I didn¹t have any kind of issues with the tyres and the win must be one of the easiest I¹ve ever got in F1.
Now we head for the Malaysian Grand Prix. I¹ve got nice and not that nice memories from Sepang circuit. We have won there twice and it was ten years ago, while I did it for the first time in my F1 career.
The circuit is very challenging. It¹s not my favourite place, while it¹s always that hot, but it¹s always a great circuit to race a F1 car. This time we should have a good car for the hot track temperatures, as well, but we have to wait until Friday practise, to find out more precisely.
Obviously, we do our very best to get it right at Sepang, and, hopefully net some good points again.
Da Autosprint n.11 del 19/03/2013:
“Finntastic” – Media Musings After Kimi’s Melbourne Masterclass
After a low-key start to the weekend, Kimi stunned the opposition, the pundits and even the team with his sublime drive to victory in yesterday’s Australian Grand Prix. We’ve put together a little montage to show what the world is saying about our Flying Finn’s performance. Enjoy!
The Age: “Iceman Burns Them Off”
“Kimi Räikkönen is a man of few words, who prefers to let his actions do the talking. In that vein, it’s fair to say that the Finn began the 2013 Formula 1 season shouting through a megaphone as he showed his class and experience to take the Australian Grand Prix for a second time. On a day when the temperatures dropped and cool autumnal showers threatened to turn the Australian Grand Prix into a lottery, Räikkönen and Lotus excelled in the strategic chess game that unfolded; stopping just twice to change tyres while Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari was harder on its rubber and had to make three stops. It’s too early to tell if the volatility of the first seven races of last season – which produced seven different winners – will be repeated, but Räikkönen and Lotus’ ascension is a hopeful sign that they will challenge Vettel and Red Bull, Alonso and Ferrari for the Word Championship”
The Herald Sun: “Finntastic”
“In one of the great races staged at Albert Park, Kimi Räikkönen delivered a brilliant performance in his Lotus to upstage German superstar Sebastian Vettel. A parochial crowd of 103,000 were treated to an action packed Albert Park race as the ‘Flying Finn’ sped past the chequered flag 12 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.”
The Australian: “Lotus Position as Finn Puts Party Back into Formula 1”
“Kimi Räikkönen and his Lotus team outsmarted their rivals to claim the Australian Grand Prix. The famously taciturn Finn has never been one for expansive oratory, but his near flawless drive was the talk of the track as he found the secret of unlocking more mileage than anyone from the prescribed Pirelli tyres. The big questions heading into the start of another Formula 1 season were whether a driver would emerge to challenge Sebastian Vettel and his run of three consecutive World Championships, and which teams would best come to grips with the softer tyre compounds on offer from Pirelli. Räikkönen and his team appear to have answered both in the first two hours of racing.”
Eurosport: “Flawless Räikkönen wins in Melbourne”
“Kimi Räikkönen drove a brilliant race to win the Australian Grand Prix for Lotus – a 20th career win that equalled the tally of retired double champion and compatriot Mika Häkkinen – as the new Formula 1 season opened with an absolute thriller at Albert Park. Finland’s 2007 World Champion made the most of having to make just two pit stops and was pulling away from his rivals – having just set the fastest lap time of the race – when he crossed the line 12.4 seconds clear of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.”
Sky Sports: “Kimi Delivers Daunting Message to Championship Rivals”
“In a daunting message to his World Championship rivals, Kimi Räikkönen said it was "easy" for him to conserve his tyres after running a two-stop strategy to winning effect in the season-starting Australian GP. Simply faultless throughout the race, Räikkönen was able to secure a resounding – and largely unexpected – victory with just two visits to the pitlane over the course of the 58 laps around Albert Park. The E21’s ability to conserve its tyres didn’t just rip up the form book at Melbourne – with Räikkönen winning from just seventh on the grid – but threatens to make the Finn a formidable contender as he chases a second World Championship. It was certainly telling that – despite Räikkönen’s final stint being the equivalent of seventeen miles longer than Alonso’s – the Finn was still able to set the race’s fastest lap in the final stages. Playing down their race-one victory Räikkönen may have been, but having been so comprehensively trumped by Lotus’ victorious strategy, the manner of the Finn’s win will surely cause Ferrari and Red Bull some sleepless nights ahead of next week’s race at Sepang.
Kimi Raikkonen back to his very best, says Lotus’s Eric Boullier
Kimi Raikkonen is back to his very best, reckons Lotus team boss Eric Boullier.
The Finn triumphed in the Australian Grand Prix after a controlled performance where a two-stop strategy proved key.
With Raikkonen taking his second win in four races, Boullier has no doubts that the 2007 world champion has kicked off the new campaign in the same manner as he ended last season.
"Kimi built up himself over the last year," said Boullier. "You could see a strong second half of the season in 2012.
"And he is starting the season like he finished last year. We can expect him to be strong."
Raikkonen has thrived in the atmosphere at Lotus following his F1 return, and Boullier says he has no plans to change the way he deals with the former world champion.
"I don’t think there is anybody on earth who can tell Kimi what he should do, so I am not going to start," he added.
"It is true that the environment we have at Enstone is that we want the people to be creative and be themselves.
"It is much better for them, and we are doing this by limiting the politics and in Kimi by limiting what he hates."
Boullier also believes that the whole Lotus team has stepped up in 2013.
When asked in what area he felt the outfit was most improved, he said: "It is everywhere to be honest. There is better co-ordination.
"We have good people in Enstone, from the aerodynamics, electronics, engine, and design. They know what they need to do. It is working."
Lotus plays down title talk despite Raikkonen win in Australia
Lotus has played down talk that Kimi Raikkonen’s Australian Grand Prix victory has put the team in a position to fight for the Formula 1 world championship this year.
Raikkonen caused a surprise in Melbourne when a two-stop strategy helped him charge through from seventh on the grid to win.
The consistency of the Lotus on its tyres has prompted talk that the outfit is well set for repeat performances, but team boss Eric Boullier is not getting carried away yet.
When asked if he believed Raikkonen’s victory in Australia meant Lotus was definitely in a position to gun for the championship this year, Boullier said: "No.
"The only thing that I am focusing on is that we have clearly stated we want to be a top team.
"Starting the season like this means we will fight with everything for the championship, but it is too early to say anything other than Lotus is a top team now.
"And if every year we are putting ourselves in a situation where we can compete for wins, then you can build up from the nice momentum to maybe be champion again."
Boullier does admit, however, that Lotus appears to be in much better shape than in 2012, when it squandered a number of opportunities to win early in the season.
"Last year already at the beginning of the season there were a couple of times we caught up with the leaders near the end of the race as we had a different strategy or were better on the tyres," he said.
"We worked very hard to make sure we kept those strengths of last year’s car and improve obviously the weaknesses.
"It is true with the 2013 tyres that it looks like they degrade a bit more, so it has put us in a different situation."
Boullier conceded that his outfit had headed in to the race on Sunday fearing that Red Bull was going to dominate.
"We were scared a little bit yes," he said. "Their car here was capable of delivering more on one lap and less on a long run distance."
Q: (Question inaudible)
Kimi Raikkonen: It’s the first race, so you don’t really know how it’s going to go, how the tyres are going to be. I didn’t really do any long runs in the winter. I knew that I had a good car, so I had a feeling that it was going to be a good race but you have to get through the first laps and then go from there.
Q: And you did a 1:29.2, the fastest lap of the grand prix just before the end. Just having a bit of fun?
KR: No, I mean Fernando was catching me at some point, when I was taking it a bit more easy and there was some traffic, so I just wanted to make sure that if the rain comes or something happens we have a bit more gap. I was still taking it pretty easy. Like I said, the car has been very good all weekend and it was a pretty nice race, not so difficult.
Q: Kimi, you lead the world championship. You had two years away rallying, you came back and won a race last year did a great job but here you are leading the championship again. How does that feel?
KR: It feels good but it’s only after one race. It doesn’t really change our aim and our work for this year. Definitely we are happy with the win but there is an awful lot to still do to try to win the championship. We seemed to have a good car here and hopefully it works well in the next races also.
Q: Kimi, did you believe from that seventh position the win was there for you today?
KR: I was pretty disappointed this morning after the qualifying. Obviously there was only one lap really on the dries and I took it a bit too easy and got a bit of a small mistake in one corner. It was more timing and getting it right than really the maximum speed from all the cars, so not the ideal starting place but it was still ten places better than last year, so not a disaster in that way. I knew that my car is quite good. It’s been feeling good all weekend and when we did the longer run it felt good. We only destroy the front tyres so we knew if we get the front tyres lasting it should be fine. In a way I was pretty confident – but of course you have to get through the start and the first lap and it’s the first race so you never know what’s going to happen with the conditions and the circuit after the rain and with tyres, so there’s a lot of question marks. I felt I had a good car and it turned out to be pretty good.
Q: Alan Permane said to you, on the subject of tyres in parc ferme, “we got it absolutely right today.” Was that just one of the ingredients where everything seemed to fall into place for you?
KR: Yeah, I mean our plan was to do two-stop and it’s always difficult, especially the first races, to really know when to stop, and not doing it too early and not too late. We got it, like he said, exactly right. The team worked very well and we had a good plan, and we follow the plan and it work out perfectly for us. I could save the tyres and I could go fast if I needed and I could really drive very easily. One of the easiest races I’ve done to win the race. Hopefully we can have many more of this kind of races.
Q: (Leonid Novozhilov – F1Life) Kimi, do you give a chance to your opponents in Malaysia?
KR: It’s a difference place, it’s going to be much hotter there so it’s very difficult to say how the cars will feel, who will be fastest after having just one race. I think we have to do two or three races before we really know who is where and what’s going to happen. It’s probably going to rain again in Malaysia at some point but it will be a different circuit, different conditions. Our car worked well here at least and usually – at least last year – in hot conditions it’s been good for us so hopefully it will turn out to be a good weekend next week.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, I know how much you love winning. When it comes easily like this, in the first race, does it mean even more to you?
KR: A win’s a win, it doesn’t really matter how you get it. Of course I’m happy that we didn’t really have to go full speed all the time so it’s kind of a good sign, a good race for us, but as I said, it might be a completely different story in the next race, so there’s nothing to jump up and be so extra happy about, because it’s a long season and in the end we want to be on the top for all the races and it’s going to be a hard season for that. As I said, everything worked well, we had no issues with the car all weekend, the car’s been good, the team has been working well. After the winter test, when I probably did the least laps of everybody in the winter, we didn’t have a very special winter. As I said before, we didn’t have a very special winter the previous year and not this winter, but the car has always been good in the
race so so far so good and hopefully it goes like this.
Q: (Don Kennedy – Hawkes Bay Today) Kimi, that seemed to be a very popular win judging by the crowd reaction out there. Can we perhaps expect a re-release of the ‘I know what I’m doing’ t-shirts? They’re pretty popular, I gather. They only had a hundred released and they sold out. Can we have a few more?
KR: No. That was last year and nothing to do with this year or this win. It was just people asked for them and we made them but now it’s not going to happen, not from me at least, maybe somebody else. There’s nothing planned. It’s happened before many times, as I said, but this time it came on TV so I’m sure some odd things will come through even this year. Maybe it gets on TV, maybe not.
Q: (Flavio Vanetti – Corriere della Sera) Kimi, can you compare the feeling that you have now with the one you had in 2007 when you won with Ferrari?
KR: For sure a win is always a win so in that way we have a good feeling, the best start that you can have in the first race of the season, but of course many things have happened since then. Still, I won here and it’s nice to be winning the first race again. But we started in seventh place and had to fight through the positions to win in the first place and I led more or less all the race. Different years but a similar feeling because obviously we won the first race and leading the points.
Q: (Erkki Mustakari – Finnish News Agency) Kimi, through the years we have seen that whoever can develop the car best through the season has the best fun towards the end of the year. Do you think Lotus has enough resources to keep up the work because there are not many ways you can go from here because you started by winning?
KR: Yeah there was a big question mark last year in our team whether we can keep up with the bigger teams. Of course it’s not going to be easy for us. I’m sure we have the people, all the tools to make it. The money is a big part of the thing. For sure we don’t have the same budget as Ferrari or Red Bull or Mercedes but we could show last year that… we did pretty well on the money and the things we have. I have no doubt we have the people and the tools but of course if we get more money it will help and it will give us a better chance and more fair play against the bigger teams. Like I said, we have good plans, and if we can follow it up it might be good, it might not. It’s a long season. If you do things right it will go
nicely but one thing can change the whole year. You do a few things a little bit wrong it can turn around and go downhill after that. So we just have to do our normal things, like we did last year and put the good effort into new parts and if we’re happy we keep them and if not we have to look more closely. But like I said, so far it has been good, so there is no reason why we can’t keep it up.
Australian GP: Raikkonen says victory one of the easiest yet
Kimi Raikkonen described his win in the 2013 Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix as one of the easiest of his career.
Raikkonen came through from seventh on the grid to win in Melbourne, joining Sebastian Vettel, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso in a lead train after a good start, and then vaulting his rivals by two-stopping while they had to pit three times.
"Our plan was to do two stops and though it’s always difficult in the first races to know when to stop and not go too early, we got it exactly right," he said.
"We followed the plan and it worked out perfectly for us. I could save the tyres and go fast if I needed.
"It was one of the easiest races I have done to win. Hopefully we can have many more of these races."
Alonso was closing in on Raikkonen in the final stages, before the Finn raised his pace, set a new fastest lap and pulled away to win by 11 seconds.
"Fernando was catching me at some points when I was taking it a bit more easy and I had some traffic, so I just wanted to make sure that if the rain came or anything I had a bit more of a gap," said Raikkonen.
"It was a pretty nice race, not so difficult."
Despite his perfect start to the season, Raikkonen underlined that Lotus could not be confident it was a title contender yet.
"It feels good but it’s only one race so it doesn’t really change our aim or our work," he said.
"We’re happy with the win and there’s a lot still to do to try to win the championship."
What a way to start the season! How are you feeling?
I’m happy for the team and for myself also. Qualifying wasn’t the easiest for us and maybe we should have been a bit further up the grid, but I made a few places at the start and then had a good battle with Lewis [Hamilton] before I eventually managed to get past. After that it was quite simple; probably one of my easiest wins.
Your pace looked strong throughout the race; how did it feel from inside the cockpit?
We were happy with the car in Barcelona, but knew there was more to come from it and we found that through this weekend. I didn’t do many laps during the winter after the issues we had, so Friday was really my first proper long run and it felt good straight away. We’ve had a quick car all weekend and there were no issues with it either, so we could just focus on trying different things and getting the setup how we wanted. I’m really pleased with how the car performed here; I felt like I could push when I wanted to and it was never too difficult to find the speed.
You made the tyres last better than anyone else out there; how difficult was it to keep them going?
I had a good feeling that we would be ok with the tyres after practice; although it wasn’t 100% straight away we made some changes which worked well so that’s a big positive as you never know what they might be like in the race or how the other teams will cope with them. The team got the strategy perfect; apart from maybe Force India I don’t think the others looked like they could do the same thing.
One race, one win; does this bode well for the year ahead?
You can’t start the season much better than winning the first race and of course we hope we can be fighting at the front of the Championship, but there’s a long way to go still and we need to keep pushing hard all the way through. I think it will be two or three race before we really see where all the teams are. Hopefully we can qualify a bit better at the next race and have a similar performance.
Australian GP: Raikkonen takes emphatic victory in season opener
Kimi Raikkonen played a two-stop strategy to perfection to beat Fernando Alonso to victory in an enthralling Australian Grand Prix.
All predictions of tedious Red Bull domination proved way off the mark, as Sebastian Vettel finished third, overshadowed by the Lotus and Ferrari.
The champion’s team-mate Mark Webber was only sixth after a poor start, behind Felipe Massa’s Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, while Force India driver Adrian Sutil also led for long periods.
The superiority Red Bull had displayed in all the weekend’s dry running so far was never evident in the race.
Webber immediately plunged outside the top five with a poor start, and Vettel was unable to get away from the fast-starting Massa and Alonso, who both passed Hamilton on lap one.
Raikkonen overtook the Mercedes soon afterwards, and then closed in on Vettel, Massa and Alonso to make a four-car lead train.
All the frontrunners pitted very early to get rid of their fragile super-soft tyres.
The order among that quartet remained the same into the second stint, but they had to fight their way through those running longer, including Sutil – who had started on mediums and found himself in the lead by lap 15.
Vettel, the Ferraris and Raikkonen were soon on the Force India’s tail. They could not pass though, and Sutil was able to make his first pitstop at the same time as Vettel, Massa and Alonso made their second, bringing the Force India onto the same sequence as the victory contenders.
Alonso pitted a lap before Sutil and Vettel and was able to leapfrog both.
Sutil stayed ahead of Vettel in the pits but was overtaken into Turn 3 a lap later. Vettel could not put any pressure on Alonso however, even as the Ferrari had to battle through drivers on other strategies – including Hamilton, with whom the Spaniard had a spectacular dice before getting clear.
By this time, Raikkonen’s strategy had come into play.
He stayed out until lap 34, a dozen laps longer than the other leaders, making it clear that Lotus was going for a two-stop to their three.
That left him with a comfortable lead over Alonso and Vettel when they made their third stops, and although the Ferrari initially began carving chunks from the Lotus’s advantage, once Alonso had used his new-tyre grip, the gap stabilised.
Raikkonen was therefore able to claim victory by 12 seconds, as Alonso pulled 10s clear of Vettel.
Massa faded in fourth after a very strong first half of the race.
Hamilton was next up, having had to abandon his intended two-stop strategy and pit for a third time. Webber made a quiet recovery to sixth, just behind Hamilton, whose team-mate Nico Rosberg retired with electrical problems.
Sutil stayed with the leaders until he finally had to take on super-softs with 12 laps to go. They did not last as he had hoped, and Sutil had to be content with seventh, just ahead of team-mate Paul di Resta.
Jenson Button finished ninth for McLaren, while Romain Grosjean completed the scorers, holding off Sergio Perez and Jean-Eric Vergne.
Nico Hulkenberg failed to take the start due to a pre-race fuel system problem on his Sauber. Pastor Maldonado spun off at Turn 1 before half-distance, and Daniel Ricciardo retired a sick-sounding Toro Rosso.
Jules Bianchi dominated the backmarker pack in 15th.
PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS The Australian Grand Prix Albert Park, Australia; 58 laps; 307.574km; Weather: Cloudy. Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1h30:03.225 2. Alonso Ferrari + 12.451 3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 22.346 4. Massa Ferrari + 33.577 5. Hamilton Mercedes + 45.561 6. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 46.800 7. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1:05.068 8. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:08.449 9. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 1:21.630 10. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 1:22.759 11. Perez McLaren-Mercedes + 1:23.367 12. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:23.857 13. Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap 14. Bottas Williams-Renault + 1 lap 15. Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap 16. Pic Caterham-Renault + 2 laps 17. Chilton Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps 18. van der Garde Caterham-Renault + 2 laps Fastest lap: Raikkonen, 1:29.274 Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 40 Rosberg Mercedes 26 Maldonado Williams-Renault 25 Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1 World Championship standings, round 1: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Raikkonen 25 1. Ferrari 30 2. Alonso 18 2. Lotus-Renault 26 3. Vettel 15 3. Red Bull-Renault 23 4. Massa 12 4. Mercedes 10 5. Hamilton 10 5. Force India-Mercedes 10 6. Webber 8 6. McLaren-Mercedes 2 7. Sutil 6 8. Di Resta 4 9. Button 2 10. Grosjean 1
Australian GP: Vettel storms to first pole of 2013 F1 season
Sebastian Vettel made the most of a drying track to beat Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber to pole for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Damp conditions for the delayed remainder of qualifying raised hopes of a mixed-up grid, but in the end the pole shootout took place on slicks on a nearly-dry circuit, and it was the champion team that prevailed.
Vettel put himself a second and a half ahead of the field with his 1m27.407s lap when he produced it.
Webber looked poised to beat it until a mistake at the penultimate corner left him 0.420 seconds adrift. Vettel was improving further on his next lap before pitting when it became clear he was unbeatable.
Lewis Hamilton kickstarted Mercedes’ season with third on the grid, 0.6s off Vettel’s pace.
That was three places higher than team-mate Nico Rosberg, despite the German having been the class of the field when the track was wet. He comfortably topped Q2, having also flown in Saturday’s Q1.
The Ferraris split the Mercedes, Felipe Massa outqualifying team-mate Fernando Alonso by 0.003s to grab fourth place.
Row four will be filled by the Lotus pair, Kimi Raikkonen ahead of Romain Grosjean.
Paul di Resta got as high as second for Force India early in Q3 when intermediates were still the best choice. But on slicks he was pushed back to ninth, ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button, the first man to come out on dry tyres in the pole segment.
Several drivers had tried slicks in the final minutes of Q2, but this move proved premature.
While Button immediately returned to intermediates, his team-mate Sergio Perez persisted with slicks and found himself 15th on the grid for his McLaren debut.
Having looked a likely top-five man on intermediates, the slick move left Jean-Eric Vergne only 13th, albeit ahead of inter-shod Toro Rosso team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
Valtteri Bottas discovered slicks made no difference to Williams’s plight in 16th, while Nico Hulkenberg’s Sauber and Adrian Sutil’s Force India had the right tyres but were still squeezed back to row six.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m27.407s
2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m27.827s + 0.420s
3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m28.087s + 0.680s
4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m28.490s + 1.083s
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m28.493s + 1.086s
6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m28.523s + 1.116s
7. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m28.738s + 1.331s
8. Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 1m29.013s + 1.606s
9. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m29.305s + 1.898s
10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m30.357s + 2.950s
Q2 cut-off time: 1m37.641s Gap ** 11. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.067s + 1.873s 12. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m38.134s + 1.940s 13. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m38.778s + 2.584s 14. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.042s + 2.848s 15. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m39.900s + 3.706s 16. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m40.290s + 4.096s Q1 cut-off time: 1m47.330s Gap * 17. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m47.614s + 4.234s 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m47.776s + 4.396s 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m48.147s + 4.767s 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m48.909s + 5.529s 21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m49.519s + 6.139s 22. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m50.626s + 7.246s 107% time: 1m50.616s* Gap to quickest in Q1** Gap to quickest in Q2
Kimi Raikkonen - 7th: "It was an OK qualifying session. We had just one lap on the dry tyres and I got a bit sideways at the end on a damp patch which meant I lost some time so that was a bit disappointing. The car seems to be working well. It had the speed, but when you have only one lap on dry tyres on a damp circuit setting a fast lap is not the easiest thing to do. The weather seems to be changing very quickly, but we've seen that before in Melbourne. It's the same for everybody and it will be in the race too."
Romain Grosjean - 8th: "That has to be one of the trickiest qualifying sessions I've ever had; the delay overnight then really mixed weather today made it a big challenge. Unfortunately we only got one flying lap on the dry tyres in Q3, which was a shame as it's hard to know the limit in these kind of drying conditions. I had a small lock-up into Turn 3 which lost me quite a bit of time so it could have been a bit better, but the main thing is we have both cars starting in the points positions. The race is long and it looks like being dry, so let's see what we can do from here."
Kimi Räikkönen Disappointed to Miss Out on Lie-In
The inclement conditions have caused all manner of inconvenience here in Melbourne; a delay to qualifying, cancelled media sessions, endless track sweeping… for Kimi however, there have been far more pressing repercussions
How was the interrupted qualifying session today?
It wasn’t easy with the traffic, people going off and the yellow flags but we went through to the second qualifying session tomorrow so it’s not all bad.
You’ve now sampled the E21 in the wet; was it to your liking?
The car doesn’t feel too bad in the wet – it’s an improvement on where we were last year for sure – but today the challenge was finding some clear space on track so we didn’t get to really push.
Does finishing qualifying then having the race on the same day make anything different for you?
The session being delayed until tomorrow was a shame but it’s the same for everyone. It’s just normal once it starts and hopefully we get through to Q3. I’d prefer to be having a lie-in tomorrow morning as it’s a late race, but you have to qualify and being out in the car will soon wake me up.
Australian GP: Qualifying postponed to Sunday morning
Qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix will be postponed until 11am local time on Sunday morning due to heavy rain showers in Melbourne.
A delayed Q1 managed to take place, but the start of Q2 was repeatedly put back due to the weather conditions.
The decision to postpone the rest of the session was finally taken nearly two hours after qualifying had begun.
The situation was complicated by further showers being forecast, so that even if the track improved, the likelihood was that the rain would immediately return.
Looming sunset added a further pressure, with little daylight left to fit in Q2 and Q3.
Nico Rosberg had been quickest in Q1 for Mercedes, which got its cars out first at the start of the session.
This meant Rosberg spent a long while on top, although he had to fight to get the position back again after everyone switched to intermediates with five minutes to go.
His team-mate Lewis Hamilton spun at Turn 2, sustaining minor rear wing damage as he nudged the barriers. Briefly stranded on the sodden grass, he eventually managed to reverse back onto the track.
That was one of many incidents during the running that did take place.
Felipe Massa and both Caterhams had to limp back to the pits minus front wings after spinning into the barriers.
Esteban Gutierrez had a similar incident but ended up stranded on track in a damaged Sauber. That left him 18th on the grid, just behind a frustrated Pastor Maldonado.
Jules Bianchi led the rest of the rear pack in his Marussia, with the crashing Caterhams at the very back.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m43.380s 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m43.850s + 0.470s 3. Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 1m44.284s + 0.904s 4. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m44.300s + 0.920s 5. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m44.472s + 1.092s 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m44.635s + 1.255s 7. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m44.657s + 1.277s 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m44.688s + 1.308s 9. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m44.871s + 1.491s 10. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m45.456s + 2.076s 11. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m45.545s + 2.165s 12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m45.601s + 2.221s 13. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m45.930s + 2.550s 14. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m46.450s + 3.070s 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m47.328s + 3.948s 16. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m47.330s + 3.950s 17. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m47.614s + 4.234s 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m47.776s + 4.396s 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m48.147s + 4.767s 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m48.909s + 5.529s 21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m49.519s + 6.139s 22. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m50.626s + 7.246s 107% time: 1m45.301sv
Australian GP: Grosjean quickest as rain hits FP3
Romain Grosjean put Lotus on top of the times in final practice for the Australian Grand Prix as the rain hit the Albert Park circuit and Sebastian Vettel hit trouble.
Grosjean posted a best time of 1m26.929s right before the heavens opened and that kept the Frenchman ahead of his rivals until the end.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and team-mate Felipe Massa were second and third ahead of Force India’s Paul di Resta and Grosjean’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
Red Bull driver Vettel finished down in 12th after stopping on track late in the session.
With rain threatening to hit the session early on, the majority of drivers began completing full laps right away, with Mark Webber the first frontrunner to set a time.
The Australian was quickly outpaced by several drivers as the threat of rain increased, Brazilian Massa setting a time of 1m27.407s to move to the top 10 minutes into the session on a very busy track.
Team-mate Alonso and then Lotus’s Grosjean lowered the benchmark moments later, the Frenchman posting the first 1m26 just before the rain made its appearance with 43 minutes to go.
The heavy rainstorm put an end to all the action for several minutes.
With 25 minutes to go, Massa was the first man to brave the conditions in the Ferrari, shod with full wets. With the track still very wet but with no rain, all drivers except Vettel and Jenson Button ventured out in the following minutes.
Friday’s pacesetter Vettel jumped onto the track with less than 15 minutes to go, the Red Bull driver the first man to use the intermediate tyres.
His run, however, did not last long as he stopped on track with 10 minutes to go with an apparent hydraulic problem. The German managed just nine laps.
Although there was no more rain, no driver put on slicks before the end of the session and therefore there were no improvements over the times set early on.
Despite the tricky conditions and some minor scares, the session was mostly trouble-free.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 1m26.929s 14 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m27.000s + 0.071s 7 3. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m27.241s + 0.312s 10 4. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m27.533s + 0.604s 9 5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m27.625s + 0.696s 12 6. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.849s + 0.920s 19 7. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.860s + 0.931s 16 8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m28.069s + 1.140s 15 9. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.253s + 1.324s 18 10. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.253s + 1.324s 20 11. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m28.486s + 1.557s 13 12. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m29.808s + 2.879s 9 13. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m30.073s + 3.144s 16 14. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m30.388s + 3.459s 17 15. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m30.598s + 3.669s 20 16. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m30.959s + 4.030s 19 17. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m33.236s + 6.307s 7 18. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m33.527s + 6.598s 8 19. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m39.232s + 12.303s 13 20. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m39.779s + 12.850s 13 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m42.872s + 15.943s 13 22. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m47.246s + 20.317s 9
Australian GP: Raikkonen thinks Lotus has reduced gap to the front
Kimi Raikkonen thinks that Lotus is closer to the front than it was this time last year, but concedes that Sebastian Vettel is clearly ahead.
With the opening practice day for the Australian Grand Prix pointing towards Red Bull being clear at the front, Raikkonen sees nothing to suggest that his outfit is not in the chasing pack behind.
"I think even compared to the last races [of 2012], it feels like we are a bit closer," said Raikkonen, when asked if he felt Lotus was stronger than 12 months ago.
"We saw Vettel being fast today but all the rest, everybody else, it looks tight and they are close to each other.
"But it is only the first Friday. So let’s see how it goes in the first two races and we will go from there."
The fact that Vettel’s pace-setting time came after his super soft tyres were past their best points to the German having a significant advantage.
However, Raikkonen does not think that Lotus has shown its best potential just yet either.
"For sure we can improve ourselves also quite a bit," he explained. "They [Red Bull] were fast on the harder tyres, so you expect that they would have been a bit faster on the super soft. But you never know.
"Some other teams did not improve so much with the super soft. But it is what it is and the race is a different story. It is just the first Friday."
Kimi Räikkönen Feeling Good after Opening Day in Melbourne
A pair of solid top ten placings and plenty of positives for Kimi during free practice here in Melbourne; the Iceman talks us through his day in the park…
How was your day’s running?
It all worked well. There were no problems and the car seems to be pretty okay so I’m quite happy. If we can keep it like it felt today for the whole weekend I think we could get a good result.
What did you learn from today?
Any reliability concerns?
We had more or less one issue in testing and when it happened we lost a lot of time. We’re pretty confident it’s fixed; apart from that the car ran well over the winter and it did today. I don’t expect to have any problems, but you never know.
How did the tyres work for you?
The tyres were much better than in testing but you expect that as it was warmer here; so far they’ve been good. I had some front graining but the rears seemed to hold together pretty well. I thought that they were surprisingly good really.
You were competitive from the off last year; can we expect more of the same this season?
I certainly had a much better Friday here than last year. Everybody looked pretty close together today so we’ll have to see how it goes in the first qualifying of the season tomorrow.
Australian GP: Vettel stays on top in second practice
Sebastian Vettel was quickest again in the second Friday practice session for the Australian Grand Prix, this time leading team-mate Mark Webber in a Red Bull one-two.
Vettel, who had also led the morning session, was quickest for the majority of the afternoon, leading by a second early on.
Webber nosed ahead briefly during the super-soft runs, before Vettel took the top spot with a 1m25.908s lap, 0.264 seconds ahead of the Australian.
The teams all switched to heavy fuel runs soon after. Tyre degradation appeared severe, with lap times on short runs dropping off dramatically after the first flying laps, and the pace on longer stints slowing considerably.
Tyre wear looked like it was a factor in a late-session spin for Webber, who lost grip on the exit of Turn 13 and slid sideways and backwards down the track.
Mercedes showed encouraging pace but also had issues.
Nico Rosberg took third fastest, before stopping on track in the closing moments with a suspected gearbox failure.
His team-mate Lewis Hamilton was seventh. A potentially better lap was interrupted with a trip over the Turn 9 gravel and grass, and he later ploughed into the gravel just minutes before Rosberg had his issue.
Also in trouble were Jean-Eric Vergne, who spun his Toro Rosso across the asphalt run-off, and Giedo van der Garde, who spun off at Turn 6 and got stuck in the gravel with an hour to go.
Lotus got both cars in the top five, with Kimi Raikkonen ahead of Romain Grosjean in fourth.
Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa’s Ferraris were sixth and eighth, followed by Adrian Sutil and Nico Hulkenberg.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m25.908 33 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m26.172s + 0.264 31 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m26.322s + 0.414 26 4. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m26.361s + 0.453 37 5. Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 1m26.680s + 0.772 30 6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m26.748s + 0.840 35 7. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m26.772s + 0.864 28 8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m26.855s + 0.947 32 9. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m27.435s + 1.527 34 10. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.187s + 2.279 34 11. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m28.294s + 2.386 30 12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m28.311s + 2.403 37 13. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m28.566s + 2.658 32 14. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m28.627s + 2.719 31 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.772s + 2.864 33 16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m28.852s + 2.944 36 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m28.968s + 3.060 35 18. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m29.386s + 3.478 38 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m29.696s + 3.788 30 20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m30.165s + 4.257 37 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m30.600s + 4.692 34 22. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m32.450s + 6.542 11
Australian GP: Sebastian Vettel begins 2013 on top in practice one
Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel assumed his habitual position at the top of the timing screens right from opening practice for Australian Grand Prix as the new season got underway in Melbourne on Friday morning.
Ferrari was the Red Bull driver’s nearest rival, with Felipe Massa just 0.078 seconds away in second place and Fernando Alonso third.
Lewis Hamilton took an encouraging fourth for Mercedes.
Local boy Daniel Ricciardo had the honour of being the first man on track in an official F1 2013 session, and also set the year’s first flying lap with a 1m36.089s. Nearly 40 minutes elapsed between those achievements, as teams waited in the pits after their installation laps in the hope that others would clear the dust from the circuit.
Ricciardo battled for the top spot with Toro Rosso team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne for a while before the leading teams began setting the pace.
Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen was the first of the big guns to show his hand, eventually working down to a 1m27.877s. Alonso beat that mark by 0.3s five minutes later.
Vettel did not start chasing lap times until the final half an hour, ultimately deposing Alonso with a 1m27.320s.
Ferrari fought back as Massa edged ahead by 0.031s, but the Brazilian’s time in first place was fleeting, as Vettel immediately improved to 1m27.211s.
That kept him on top to the end. The Ferraris remained in second and third ahead of Hamilton.
Mark Webber and Raikkonen rounded out the top six, with Nico Rosberg seventh in the second Mercedes.
Adrian Sutil’s F1 comeback began well in eighth. Jenson Button, in ninth, was split from McLaren team-mate Sergio Perez by Romain Grosjean’s Lotus.
Several drivers, particularly those in the tail-end cars, skittered across the grass and run-off areas.
The only incident of significance came in the final moments, when Paul di Resta brushed the grass on the approach to Turn 6 and spun his Force India sideways into the gravel trap, from which he was surprisingly able to haul himself out.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m27.211s 16 2. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m27.289s + 0.078s 17 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m27.547s + 0.336s 16 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m27.552s + 0.341s 18 5. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m27.668s + 0.457s 18 6. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m27.877s + 0.666s 17 7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m28.013s + 0.802s 17 8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m28.426s + 1.215s 19 9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m28.440s + 1.229s 19 10. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m28.520s + 1.309s 15 11. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m28.597s + 1.386s 19 12. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.786s + 1.575s 19 13. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m28.910s + 1.699s 18 14. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m29.443s + 2.232s 20 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m29.928s + 2.717s 19 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m30.203s + 2.992s 17 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m30.729s + 3.518s 17 18. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m30.969s + 3.758s 19 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m31.263s + 4.052s 24 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m32.176s + 4.965s 23 21. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m32.274s + 5.063s 21 22. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m32.388s + 5.177s 18