18 Mar 2013

Why F1 2013 could be one of the greatest years - Because Kimi

The 2013 Australian Grand Prix gave us the riot of thrills, spills and overtakes that Max "Game of Chess" Moseley would have hated.  And the winner was Kimi Raikkonen.  In a Lotus.  This bodes well for the rest of 2013.

2012 was pretty much the best season in F1 history in terms of overtaking and variety of results, until the Red Bulls' got a handle on the Pirelli tyres and the Sebastibot produced another yawnathon in the second half of the year, winning the title yet again.

But 2013 looks as though it could be different, could be less of a snoozefest dominated by whichever team Adrian Newey works for at the time.  Why?  Because no team seems to be dominant, even though the Pirellis seem to be less of a randomizing factor this year.

And because Kimi won, and won "easily."  In this sponsor-friendly era of identikit Sebastians who don't drink, don't do anything naughty, don't fall off boats, don't enter powerboat races dressed in a Gorilla outfit under the pseudonym James Hunt, don't try and jump guard rails and trip and fall flat on their faces, don't eat ice cream when all around are on high alert, don't say they were "taking a shit" during Michael Schumacher's (first) farewell presentation, Kimi Raikkonen is a breath of fresh air.  And he's a race winner.  And a World Champion.

Speedmonkey loves fast Finns in motor racing.   Keke Rosberg's hell for leather approach, Mika Hakkinen's amazing overtake at Spa on Schumacher around Zonta (see below), Juha Kankunnen's cigar kept for emergencies only in his rally cars and the general flat-out-and-scoop-it-up-later mentality behind the wheel.  Kimi Raikkonen embodies all of that Finnish spirit, and then some.  And his current team, Lotus, milk it for all it's worth.  Brilliant.

Aside from a winning Kimi we have Red Bull and Ferrari who are both fast but not dominant and, crucially, each with two fast drivers.  Webber pulled off an ultra ballsy move on DiResta on lap 45 and would have finished higher were it not for problems with the car.  Kimi's team-mate, Grosjean, is in a fast car too, although Mr Smiley-Simpleton does have a habit of getting excitable and crashing into everyone else every now and again.

The Mercedes AMG of Hamilton did much better than expected and can't fail to get better, although pretty boy Rosberg showed his true colours - comprehensively whupped by Lewis.  Plus, Lewis showed that, despite being in a new team, he's lost none of his spirit.  No way was he going to let Alonso past him without a fight.

McLaren were absolute crap for a team of their stature, and apparently only went fast in winter testing because they fitted a part the wrong way round, which lowered the ride hide to a level that doesn't work on bumpy circuits.  But McLaren have huge experience and resources and when Button clicks with the car he generally wins.  Perez was a bit rubbish, although we thought that when he was signed last year.

Of the rest Sutil in the Force India went much better than expected despite the wrong tyre fiasco at the end letting him down.  When Sutil eventually makes it to the podium we wonder if he'll be allowed a glass champagne bottle, or have to make do with a plastic bottle of orange squash.

Sauber too could have run better but for bad luck and gremlins.  Williams, though, seem to have gone backwards with The Maldonator calling the car "undriveable" and "slow."

We've got Lotus, Ferrari and Red Bull pretty much equal on performance, Mercedes and Force India not far behind, McLaren sure to improve, Sauber and Williams probably on the pace occasionally, the most inexperienced grid in recent history (five rookies) and crashaholics The Maldonator and Smiley-Simpleton Grosjean yet to unleash their full fury.

2013 is going to be a classic.  If, for no other reason, Because Kimi.

2013 Australian Grand Prix - Results

1. Kimi Raikkonen Finand Lotus-Renault 58 laps 1hr 33m 03.225s2. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari +00m 12.4s3. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault +00m 22.3s4. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari +00m 33.5s5. Lewis Hamilton Britain Mercedes-Mercedes +00m 45.5s6. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault +00m 46.8s7. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes +01m 05.0s8. Paul di Resta Britain Force India-Mercedes +01m 08.4s9. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes +01m 21.6s10. Romain Grosjean France Lotus-Renault +01m 22.7s11. Sergio Perez Mexico McLaren-Mercedes +01m 23.3s12. Jean-Eric Vergne France Toro Rosso-Ferrari +01m 23.8s13. Esteban Gutierrez Spain Sauber-Ferrari +1 lap 14. Valtteri Bottas Finland Williams-Renault +1 lap15. Jules Bianchi France Marussia-Cosworth +1 lap16. Charles Pic France Caterham-Renault +2 laps
17. Max Chilton Britain Marussia-Cosworth +2 laps18. Giedo van der Garde Holland Caterham-Renault +2 lapsRtd Daniel Ricciardo Australia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 40 laps completedRtd Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 26 laps completedRtd Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Williams-Renault 24 laps completed