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Raikkonen wins in Australia on Ferrari debut
Alan Baldwin | March 18, 2007 10:59 IST
Finland's Kimi Raikkonen made a triumphant start to his Ferrari career with a pole-to-flag victory in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The 27-year-old, stepping into the seat vacated by the retired Michael Schumacher at the Italian Formula One team, punched the air with his fists as he crossed the line 7.2 seconds ahead of McLaren's double world champion Fernando Alonso.
It was the 10th victory of Raikkonen's career and made him the first driver to win on his Ferrari debut since Briton Nigel Mansell in Brazil in 1989.
McLaren's 22-year-old British rookie Lewis Hamilton completed a stunning weekend for the youngest man on the grid by overtaking Alonso at the start and leading his first grand prix for four laps before finishing third.
He became the 55th driver to score points in his first Formula One race and the first driver to step on to the podium on his debut since Canada's 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve in Melbourne in 1996.
Germany's Nick Heidfeld finished fourth for BMW Sauber, ahead of Italian Giancarlo Fisichella for champions Renault and Brazilian Felipe Massa in sixth place after an engine change forced him to start at the back of the grid.
Germany's Nico Rosberg put Williams in the points with seventh place, ahead of their engine suppliers Toyota whose Ralf Schumacher took the last point in eighth place.
Sunday's race was the first season-opener since 1991 without Ralf's older brother Michael, the seven-times world champion, on the starting grid but Raikkonen made sure that the new era opened with a red Ferrari at the front once more.
The Finn lapped all but the top six drivers.
1. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1:25:28.770
- (rank: r = retired, nc = not classified)
Fastest Lap: Kimi Raikkonen, 1:25.235, lap 41.
Formula One: The Complete Coverage