Raikkonen continues strong start with runner-up

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On Sunday at Bahrain, Kimi Raikkonen collected his third podium in four starts this season, moving from seventh at the start to his second consecutive runner-up finish in as many races.

It’s also the sixth Bahrain Grand Prix podium of the Iceman’s career, but being ever hungry for a victory and nothing else, he indicated that he wanted more than just consistency.

“Second is obviously better than third place, but we haven’t won [at Bahrain] and that’s what we try to do,” Raikkonen said. “Today, we got good points, we didn’t lose too many to [race winner] Sebastian [Vettel], but obviously it doesn’t help to finish second if he’s winning all the time. So we try to find something, but all of [the podium finishes] have been improved, in a way.”

Still, Raikkonen, who worked from a two-stop strategy in the race that he felt “worked well,” believed that P2 was the best result he could have wrung out even if he had qualified farther up the grid.

“I think it didn’t help, but I think overall, we would not have had the speed for beating Red Bull in here this weekend,” he admitted. “Yesterday we could have been a few places better, but still, we couldn’t have challenged on speed… to the front.

“But I would say then, second was the best that we could achieve and also third for the team, so, a good result.”

Raikkonen now sits 10 markers in second place behind Vettel (77-67) in the driver’s championship as it goes into an extended break before the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona next month.

He recognizes that’s a better position than where he was last year at this time, but is downplaying expectations of a bid for the world title — at least for now.

“It’s going to be hard to catch Sebastian [Vettel] if he keeps taking good results so we need to start taking more points from him, but you never know what can happen,” Raikkonen said. “We’ll keep pushing to improve the car and see where we end up.”

Lewis Hamilton comes home to Mercedes factory after fourth title

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On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.

And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.

Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.

The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.

“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.

“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.

“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”

A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.