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Bah GP - Race weekend recap - Raikkonen

In Bahrain 'The Ice Man' returned to a Formula One podium for the first time since September 13 2009 in Italy.

The Finn got the most out of his Lotus to finish second behind the Red Bull of Vettel and even at one stage threatened to take the race to the current back-to-back Formula One Champion.

It was a super drive from Raikkonen who since his return to Formula One after a couple of seasons away, is really showing the form that brought him his one and only F1 title.

On Friday, the Lotus team concentrated on car set up and as mentioned in team-mate's Romain Grosjean race recap, the team never showed the pace to really indicate how strong they would be this weekend.

Despite having what looked a strong car, Kimi Raikkonen failed to get through to the final stage of qualifying, but the 2007 Formula One World Champion was satisfied with his performance as he had saved a set of extra tyres for the race.

ďWe had the speed today and we could easily have gone through to the final session with another run, but we thought it was worth taking the risk to only do one lap in Q2 and save fresh sets of tyres for the race. Managing the tyres will be a priority tomorrow, so while it was a gamble that didnít get us through to the final session it will hopefully be a strategy which pays off in the race. We knew it was going to be close and of course we always want to be as high up the grid as possible, but there were two options and we went for the one which we believe will deliver the best result on Sunday. There are no points given out on Saturday, so letís see what happens tomorrow.Ē Raikkonen told after qualifying.

It proved to be a good strategy and one that would almost put him in contention for his first win since August 30 2009 in Belgium.

Starting from 11th, Kimi would enjoy a good start to take 7th during the opening lap, but fell back down to 8th when the Ferrari of Felipe Massa made a move down the inside of Raikkonen. The two duelled through turns one and two, with the Ferrari eventually taking the position.

Two laps later and Kimi would re-take the position from Massa and with the aid of DRS being activated, the Finn would begin his assault on the cars in front of him.

His next move would come around the outside of turn four, taking sixth from Jenson Button, before a lap later taking fifth place from Alonso.

Following the first round of pit stops, Kimi was up to third and looking strong, benefiting from a new set of soft tyres while everyone else was using the harder compound tyre.

This meant that Raikkonen quickly closed the gap to his team-mate, but Lotus refused to make the call to switch their drivers which would have given Kimi a better a run at Vettel. Eventually he did get passed his team-mate, with the move coming on lap 24, but the opportunity appeared to have passed.

Over the next 10 laps Kimi would hunt down Vettel, closing the gap on every lap, but with both drivers making their final pit stops on lap 39, Vettel held a 3 second lead and Raikkonen was unable to close the gap.

If Lotus had switched drivers earlier, or had attempted an undercut on the pit-stops, who knows what Kimi could have done?

Following the race he said: ďItís a great result for the team and we deserve it as everyone has been working very hard. To be honest, Iím slightly disappointed we didnít take the win because we had the pace. I only had one chance to overtake Sebastian and unfortunately I chose the wrong side to try and get past. If I hadnít made a small mistake at the start and allowed Felipe to get through then maybe it would have been a different story, as we spent quite a lot of time fighting with him. At the end of the day, itís good to have both cars on the podium, especially after last race which didnít go to plan, but I honestly think we could have taken the victory today.Ē

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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday April 23 2012

Time: 1:00PM


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