Kimi Raikkonen could hardly have wished for a better start to the 2013 season as he won the Australian GP without too much fuss.
The Lotus driver qualified P7, but he negotiated his way to fourth place by the end of the third lap and then held station behind the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel and the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.
However, the momentum swung his way during the second round of pit stops as Lotus put him on a two-stop strategy with the rest of the front-runners all doing three-stoppers.
Although there were fears that Alonso, who finished second, was going to catch him after he switched to fresh rubber late in the race, the challenge never came as Raikkonen eased his way to his second race win following his comeback.
The 33-year-old Raikkonen says their plan worked like a charm and it turned into "one of the easiest race wins" for him in the end as he finished more than 12s ahead of the Spaniard.
"Our plan was to do two stops and though it's always difficult in the first races to know when to stop and not go too early, we got it exactly right," he said. "We followed the plan and it worked out perfectly for us. I could save the tyres and go fast if I needed.
"It was one of the easiest races I have done to win. Hopefully we can have many more of these races."
He added: "Fernando was catching me at some points when I was taking it a bit more easy and I had some traffic, so I just wanted to make sure that if the rain came or anything I had a bit more of a gap.
"It was a pretty nice race, not so difficult."
Although pleased to be the surprise leader in the Drivers' Championship after the season-opening race in Melbourne, Raikkonen concedes there's still a long way to go.
"It feels good but it's only one race so it doesn't really change our aim or our work," he said. "We're happy with the win and there's a lot still to do to try to win the Championship."
Meanwhile team principal Eric Boullier is delighted with the way Raikkonen managed his tyres throughout the race.
"We're most delighted - it was the best start we could have had to the season. Not only is it a win, but the strategy we chose also worked," he said on BBC Sport.
"Reduced tyre wear was one of the strengths of the car that we inherited from last season and it was useful because during Kimi's second stint the other cars were starting to challenge a bit more."
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