Raikkonen takes Australian GP Honours, Hamilton Best of Brits in 5th

Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) won the first race of the season, in a rain-disrupted Australian Grand Prix, in Melbourne, followed in by Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull).

The final two parts of the qualifying session had to be run on Sunday morning, with Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) placing 3rd on the grid.

Hamilton, who had been initially on a 2-stop strategy, was hampered by the need for a third stop, and ended the race two places down, despite having taken the lead in the earlier stages.

“I’m happy with our result. It’s much better than we expected for the first race of the season,” said Hamilton.

“The car felt really good – We’d planned for two stops but converted to a three-stop strategy during the race.

His former team mate, Jensen Button may have scored 2 points for McLaren (breaking the 1000 points barrier in his career to date) coming in 9th, but feared that the team would have no time to improve on the car until the race calendar moves to Europe.

He said: “There’s still a lot of work to do. I don’t think you’ll see a massive difference [in Malaysia] no. Maybe that circuit will suit us better. It’s going to be a long night of debriefing for us.”

Force India’s Paul di Resta finished one place up from Button, in 8th and also felt that a 3-stop strategy had lost him a lot of track positions later in the race.

Rookie Brit Max Chilton (Marussia) finished his F1 debut in 17th place, after starting 20th on the grid, and contending with front wing damage.

The action moves to Malaysia next weekend.

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