22 Mar 2013

Raikkonen postpones celebrations after win

6:20 am on 22 March 2013

Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen says he's saving his celebrations for the end of the year despite his brilliant season-opening Formula One win in Australia.

The Finn left the partying to his Lotus crew and flew straight to Kuala Lumpur ahead of this week's Malaysian Grand Prix.

Raikkonen says Sunday's win has not changed his preparations for this week's race -- and he denied he was seen as the man to beat at the tropical Sepang circuit near the Malaysian capital.

He claimed his debut Formula One win at Sepang in 2003 and he also won in 2008, mixed with four failures to finish.

The Melbourne win was mainly down to Raikkonen's ability to manage the rapidly degrading Pirelli tyres better than his rivals in unusually cold conditions, making the Malaysia race a bit of a step into the unknown due to its intense heat.

He also played down concerns over the Lotus's lethargic performance in qualifying at Melbourne after the Finn could only claim seventh on the starting grid, one place ahead of team mate Romain Grosjean.

The 33 year old says qualifying was affected by the wet weather and in dry conditions he expects lotus to be a lot closer to pole.

Melbourne was his second victory since returning last year from a two-year stint in rallying.