MELBOURNE, March 17 (UPI) -- Kimi Raikkonen, using only two pit stops Sunday, won the Formula 1 season-opening Rolex Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
While most drivers were pitting three times in the race, Raikkonen and the Lotus-Renault team stopped just twice and that strategy allowed him to take the lead for good on the 43rd lap.
Raikkonen completed the 58 laps of the race at the 3.295-mile Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in 1 hour, 30 minute, 3.225 seconds. He also had the fastest lap of the day in just less than 90 seconds near the end of the race.
Raikkonen started at No. 7 in the grid after Vettel and his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber claimed the top two starting positions. Raikkonen quickly moved to fourth and worked into the lead in the 23rd lap.
He briefly lost the lead after a pit stop in the 34th lap but was back in front by the 43rd and controlled the race from there.
The 2013 Formula 1 season continues next Sunday at the Malaysian Grand Prix in Kuala Lumpur.