The 2007 world champion with Ferrari, returning with Lotus this season, finished second after challenging Red Bull’s race winner Sebastian Vettel from the halfway point with a car on fresher tires.
“It’s a bit disappointing that I didn’t manage to do it. But I made a small mistake at the beginning and lost one place to Ferrari,” the Finn, who has spent the last two years in rallying, told reporters.
“I had to re-overtake him and it took a little time. I got past the people quite easily but if you look in the end I think we still took too long and we couldn’t win the race. But at least we got the podium with both cars.”
The second place, with French teammate Romain Grosjean taking his first podium in third place, was a just reward after the disappointment of Shanghai last weekend when Raikkonen went from second place to 14th in the last nine laps as the tires lost grip.
The last time Raikkonen stood on the Formula One podium was in Italy in September 2009, with his last win in Belgium the previous month.
“After the last race we tried hard and failed and probably people thought we were a bit stupid,” commented the racer known as the ‘Iceman’.
“I think the team deserves what we have achieved now. We have been working hard. We’ve not been 100 percent happy with how the weekends have run so far but finally we’ve got some proper results for the team, so it’s an important step.”
The points lifted Lotus to third place, behind Red Bull and McLaren and 12 clear of Ferrari.
Raikkonen had qualified 11th, a position that would have left him frustrated had the organizers kept the layout used last time Bahrain hosted a race in 2010 when overtaking was difficult.
Last year’s race was canceled due to a bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters and the circuit has been shortened.
Raikkonen had a good chance to get past Vettel and was alongside only for the German to close the door.
“I chose the wrong side, so that’s about it. After that my tires dropped off a bit and I couldn’t get close enough,” he declared.
“Hopefully we can put ourselves in a similar position later on this season in the next coming races. It’s not going to be easy but we will try. And that would be nice.”
“This weekend it worked, last weekend it didn’t. We know that the speed is there, we just need to try to get everything exactly right.” - Reuters
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