Kimi Raikkonen finished in second place in the Austrian Grand Prix, his best result of the season so far. It means that he beat his Ferrari team mate Sebastian Vettel for the fourth time in nine races in 2018.
His Sunday race got off to an electrifying start when he blasted off the second row and inserted himself between the two Mercedes cars going into the first corner.
“I think there was a lot happening on the first lap,” Raikkonen said. “I got a good jump and there was a space when I decided to go.
“I had to back off a little bit because they were going to squeeze together,” he added. “My decision was already gone there. I was scared that I was going to be hit.
“I lost some speed and then I couldn’t really challenge into the first corner,” he said. “Apart from that, I think without lifting and needing to avoid them squeezing me I think we could have got the first place there.”
After running wide and losing momentum, Raikkonen was subsequently caught and passed for third place by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who went on to win the race.
“Obviously [Max and I] were pretty close to each other, I think the car in front of me, the Mercedes, disturbed [my car] a bit,” he recalled.
“I tried to hang on on the outside but I got a little bit sideways because I guess we touched a little bit and lost a place.”
Far from begrudging the challenge from Verstappen, Raikkonen sounded happy with the feisty start to proceedings.
“We got the best out of it,” he said. “Not taking each out and still fighting in that kind of corner that is fast speed and not very easy to stay next to each other when you try.
“That’s what happens sometimes. Not ideal for me but it was still fair enough.”
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But with other front runners falling by the wayside with mechanical issues, Raikkonen soon found himself in second place with only Verstappen between him and his first Grand Prix win since 2013.
In the end he couldn’t quite close down the leader, even though Verstappen was suffering from blistering tyres.
“I think we had the speed today but we ran out of laps,” he said. “I think we too it easily too long. It’s a shame but we had a great car today in the end.
“Looking at what happened to the Red Bull, I think we had good tyres so maybe we started to push a little too late not really knowing how all the tyres would last. Probably they didn’t drop off as much as people expected.
“At least we would have got to the position of having tried, but who knows how dangerous that would be?
“Some points were a bit difficult, but it was a good result from the team,” he concluded. “There’s always things to improve if you look afterwards, but we gave it out best today and it wasn’t quite enough.”
Looking ahead, Raikkonen was uncertain whether the next race in seven days time would prove as rewarding for Ferrari.
“Obviously Silverstone is a lot different circuit,” he commented. “If you purely take it it wouldn’t probably be the best place last year so maybe there for us.
“But I think I’m looking forward and I think we have certain things that we are trying and probably will help there.
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“Obviously it depends a lot on the conditions there but I think the last two weekends have been quite similar so I will keep pushing and trying and try to do better all the time and obviously try to do better than today in the next races.
“There could be a slightly better end result but I think as a team we got solid points and we go to the next race.”
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