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Motorsport | Formula 1

Kimi Raikkonen © Gallo Images

Raikkonen promises more of same for Lotus

Kimi Raikkonen promised more of the same on Sunday after claiming a surprise second place for Lotus in the Bahrain Grand Prix ahead of his teammate Romain Grosjean.

Just four races into his comeback after two years out of the sport spent rallying, the 2007 world champion demonstrated his familiar racing pedigree with a great race mixing sheer speed and determination with clever, mature judgement.

The 32-year-old Finn, looking for his 19th career win, challenged winner Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull for victory, and said he hoped to push for victory again during the season.

He said: "Of course I wanted to win and would have been much happier in myself if I had won, but nevertheless the team deserved what they got and hopefully we can put ourselves in this position more often.

"We had the car already in the first three races to be up there, but we made some small mistakes and it cost us too much. Today wasn't far away.

"I really should have made it, but I didn't so, like I said, hopefully we can put ourselves in this position more often to have a chance.

"But we know we have to work hard and improve certain areas of the car and I'm sure we can be up there more often and try to get the win."

Raikkonen admitted that he didn't make the most of his one realistic opportunity to pass Vettel on lap 36.

"We got one try on Sebastian, but I couldn't use it because I chose the wrong side and then my tyres dropped off and that was it," said Raikkonen, a near-neighbour of Vettel in Switzerland where the Finn, he claims, normally beats the German at table tennis.

"I pretty much knew that was my only chance."

Raikkonen said he could have won the race had he not fallen behind the Ferraris at the start and engaged in a wheel-banging battle with Felipe Massa.

"We gave ourselves a chance at least and it's a bit disappointing that we didn't manage to do it, but I made a small mistake at the beginning, lost one place to a Ferrari and I had to re-overtake him and that took a little time," he explained.

"I think the team deserves what we achieved now, we have been working hard in the background and I have not been 100 per cent happy with how the weekends had gone so far, but we finally got some proper results for the team so it is an important step."

Raikkonen said also that he had to battle hard to find a way past his teammate Grosjean during the race.

He said: "There are no team orders, we know the rules.

"I tried to get past as quickly as I could, but it is not always easy with two similar cars so.

"It's always easy afterwards to say we should have done that, but in the end we were not fast enough to win so we had to take second."

Grosjean had scored his first points in F1 in last week's Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai.

"It is great, a great feeling so far. I am very proud of the team, of what we did. We knew we had a good car, but I think we were a little bit surprised at the beginning about where we were," said the 25-year-old.

"It turned out to be not too bad in the end and I think our car is very competitive. I think we can be very happy with what we did.

"The first points is one step and the next step I thought it would take time, but we can be happy and have a week off to enjoy it now."

Grosjean was the first Frenchman to finish on the podium since Jean Alesi came third for Sauber at the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix.


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