Posted: Sunday March 17, 2013 4:14 AM

Lotus' Raikkonen wins F1's Australian GP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Kimi Raikkonen won Formula One's season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday, jumpstarting Lotus' bid to challenge the series' bigger teams for the 2013 championship.

Raikkonen managed to pull off a two-stop strategy while his six nearest rivals all needed three, taking the lead for good on lap 43 of 58 in a race that had seven different leaders. The Finn became the 15th driver in F1 history to earn 20 grand prix wins.

"Thanks everybody, I told you that the car is good,'' Raikkonen said over his team radio as he returned to pits.

Fernando Alonso of Ferrari was second, while pole sitter and three-time reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel was third in his Red Bull, forced to pit after just seven laps due to worn super-soft tires.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa was fourth, ahead of Lewis Hamilton in his first race for Mercedes and local favorite Mark Webber of Australia for Red Bull.

Force India pair Adrian Sutil - who twice led the race and was the man overtaken by Raikkonen for the lead - faded to seventh and finished ahead of teammate Paul di Resta. McLaren's Jenson Button and Lotus' Romain Grosjean rounded out the top 10.

 
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