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A Winning Debut for Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen

The Australian Grand Prix 2007 undoubtedly belonged to Kimi Raikkonen and the Shell powered Scuderia Ferrari.

After just three months with the team, Raikkonen won his debut race with supreme ease and confidence.

Despite being absent from the podium, his team mate Felipe Massa displayed exceptional determination and skill to bring his F2007 Ferrari sixteen places up the field to cross the line in sixth place.

Sunshine had greeted the first qualifying session of the 2007 Formula One season. With all 22 drivers and 11 teams finally able to put their hard work to the test, it was eventually Raikkonen who snatched pole position. This was the twelfth pole position of his career and perhaps what is more extraordinary; a pole position achieved debuting for the team.

Fortune was not so kind to Felipe Massa; having impressed the Formula One circus with his strong pace in the run up to the weekend, gearbox problems during the second qualifying window handed him P16. The young Brazilian ultimately started the race from the back of the grid having opted to use a fresh engine.

Under race conditions, Raikkonen instantly asserted his position on the track, pulling away from the line and leading all cars cleanly through a potentially thorny turn one.

Raikkonen's on-track dominance continued, immediately notching up the fastest lap times until he pulled into the pits on lap 19.

Felipe Massa

The Finn re-joined the track in fourth place but it was not long before the front runners also pitted. He was soon able to take back his lead, building it up to such an extent that the two McLaren-Mercedes of Alonso and Hamilton behind him, did not constitute a challenge when he eventually came in to re-fuel and change tyres for a second time.

Raikkonen stormed ahead maintaining a comfortable distance until the chequered flag was waved to the jubilation of the Ferrari team and many fans.

Massa began the race 21 places behind his Finnish counterpart. As rules dictate he was able to run any amount of Shell V-Power fuel, opting for a one stop strategy. By the mid way point of the race, Massa had already torn his way through the field only taking to the pit lane once he had moved up into 7th place.

With several laps remaining Massa was extremely close to passing Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella for position, but eventually finished the race in P6 earning three valuable points.

Lisa Lilley, Shell Formula One Technology Manager for Ferrari, after the race commented: "Great race, with the new regulations limiting the development of engines, it's a great opportunity for our technology to make difference. The Shell Helix lubricant we're using in the car really contributed to the team's competitive edge today."

With one race over and 16 races still to take place over a period of eight months, Raikkonen leads the Formula One Drivers' Championship with ten points to Alonso's eight. Rookie Lewis Hamilton's third position means that McLaren-Mercedes leads the Constructor's table with 14 points to Ferrari's 13.