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GP Week : Issue 2
F1 AUSTRALIA The walls fall down z o Z D... o WILL BUXTON GPWeek Editor '\ AS FAR as world champion performances go, Kimi Raikkonen will probably be only too happy to forget all about the 2008 Australian Grand Prix. And it had started so well... Eighth place in the opening laps showed just how determined the Finn was to make up for the disappointments of qualifying, and after he had battled his way past Barrichello's impressively pacey Honda, he continued to set the track alight until he found Heikki Kovalainen's McLaren. Anyone who has seen footage of the final laps of last season's Japanese Grand Prix will remember well how much of a dogged fighter Kovalainen can be, and regardless of the fact that Kimi was yet to make his first stop, nobody should have been under any illusions that the McLaren man would put up a staunch defence of his position. And so it was that Raikkonen was forced into out-braking himself and flying into the gravel at Turn 3.ln the heat of the moment, such a rash moment at that particular part of the track is no rare thing ... but for the reigning world champion to make such a mistake? Then, as if to compound the matter, in exactly the same place, the Finn spins off trying to pass the ill-handling Toyota of Timo Glock. Surely, the champion could not simply have just lost his concentration. Surely it wasn't simply a case of "red mist:' There are those in the F1 media centre who believe that Raikkonen, after a winter spent predominantly on the slopes rather than in a car or at the gym, simply isn't in good enough shape, and that the high temperatures had taken more out of him than he had expected. It certainly seemed that his mistakes started to come after half distance and it is perfectly feasible to link the timing and the conditions. .. personally, I'm not sure I buy it. But what if he does the same in Ma laysia? eee I . ""-- ';,'. ÞàE -ron AMD "'! I " . t ( ) tit ! . ".I .. : . : 1 1 ..., I . . , .4 . Raikkonen has been dogged by the "lad about town" image for many years. He is a man who enjoys a drink, he likes to party, and he doesn't really seem to give a damn who knows it. But he is also a committed sportsman who, when the lights go out, has an incredible talent behind the wheel of a racing car. Whether that talent is being hindered by an under-par level of physical preparation for the season will become clear in seven days time. In the sweltering and humid heat of the Malaysian Grand Prix, even the smallest chink in the physical armour of a driver is magnified ad finitum. Should Kimi spend as much of the Malaysian weekend facing the direction he did in Australia, we may well have our answer. FORMULA II Round I AUSTRALIA .... Pos # Driver Team laps Time Grid 1 22 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 58 1 :34:50.616 1 2 3 Nick Heidfeld BMW 58 +5.4s 5 3 7 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 58 +8.1 s 7 4 5 Fernando Alonso Renault 58 +17.1s 11 5 23 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 58 + 1 8.0s 3 6 8 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 57 + 1 Lap 13 7 14 Sebastien Bourdais STR-Ferrari 55 +3 Laps 17 8 1 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 53 +5 Laps 15 Ret 4 Robert Kubica BMW 47 Accident 2 Ret 1 2 Timo Glock Toyota 43 Accident 18 Ret 18 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 32 Transmission 19 Ret 6 Nelsinho Piquet Renault 3 Accident 20 Ret 2 Felipe Massa Ferrari 29 Engine 4 Ret 9 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 25 Accident 8 Ret 11 Jarno Trulli Toyota 19 Electrical 6 Ret 2 Adrian Sutil Force India-Ferrari 8 Hydraulics 22 Ret 1 0 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 0 Accident 14 Ret 16 Jenson Button Honda 0 Accident 12 Ret 19 Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 0 Accident 21 Ret 1 5 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari 0 Accident 9 Ret 21 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 0 Accident 16 DSQ 1 7 Rubens Barrichello Honda 58 +52.4s 10 Points - Drivers: Hamilton 10, Heideld 8, Rosberg 6, Alonso 5, Kovalainen 4, Nakajima 3, Bourdais 2, Raikkonen 1. Manufacturers: McLaren-Mercedes 14, Williams-Toyota 9, BMW 8, Renault 5, STR-Ferrari 2, Ferrari 1. 29