Having started down in P13 after a difficult qualifying session on Friday, Kimi Raikkonen has every right to be delighted after finishing third in today’s Singapore Grand Prix at Marina Bay Street Circuit.
The Finn showed good pace which – combined with pitting under the safety car – saw him finish on the podium alongside Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. Raikkonen revealed that the plan was always to pit during a safety car period; something of an inevitability given Singapore’s reputation for stoppages.
“We had a plan and we knew that at what moment if the safety car comes out we try to go until the end, so I knew what will happen and luckily some of the teams couldn’t do it and they have to pit,” Raikkonen explained after qualifying.
The highlight of his race came during a battle with McLaren’s Jenson Button. Having been stuck behind the Briton for a number of laps, Raikkonen pulled off a stunning overtake around the outside of turn five to move up to P3 late on.
“I was kinda stuck behind Jenson for most of the race but then I tried to give him some pressure and keep him pushing. I noticed that he started running out of his tires, and I started getting closer and closer.
“Then I decided to try to pass him and I managed to get past because there were some people who stopped and moved onto fresh tires, they were catching very quickly but luckily once I got past I could push a bit more and keep the gap big enough.”
Raikkonen had struggled in qualifying due to a back injury, but he confirmed that it had not caused too many problems during the race today.
“I didn’t feel it too much during the race but obviously it’s not ideal. Yesterday it was really bad.”
The Finn is set to leave Lotus at the end of the season and return to Ferrari in 2014, with whom he claimed his solitary drivers’ title back in 2007.