Kimi Raikkonen was pleased to put a “rough start” to the 2017 Formula 1 season behind him by charging to third place in Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix for Ferrari.
Raikkonen entered the Sochi weekend with half the points of Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel, having seen the German driver claim two wins and one second-place finish in the opening three rounds of the year.
Raikkonen had failed to hit the podium in F1 since the Austrian Grand Prix in July, but nearly scored his first F1 pole for nine years on Saturday after running Vettel close in qualifying.
Despite slipping behind eventual race winner Valtteri Bottas at the start, Raikkonen was able to keep Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton back early on before enduring a rather lonely race en route to third place.
“I think I have had a bit of a rough start to the season, far from ideal. This weekend for sure has been a step forward,” Raikkonen said on the podium after the race.
“We’ve been more happy with how things have been running, but we still only finished third. We lost out off the start and then not an awful lot happened after that.
“We keep trying and keep improving, I’m sure we’ll get there. It’s all about all the small details have to be exactly there, then you will get the first place, because the four of us are very close most of the time.
“It’s a small difference that makes a big difference in the end.”
Despite clinching a double podium with Vettel and Raikkonen in P2 and P3 respectively, Ferrari lost the lead of the constructors’ championship in Russia as Bottas’ victory pushed Mercedes one point clear.