Kimi Raikkonen silenced the sceptics with a superb drive to second place in Bahrain, and at one stage looked like he might actually win.
The Lotus driver started 11th and had the benefit of having two new sets of options and two new sets of primes. That helped him to charge up to second place in the first two stints. He then chased down leader Sebastian Vettel, just coming up short when his best chance came at the end of the second stints.
“I think we gave ourselves a chance at least,” said Raikkonen. “It’s a bit disappointing that I didn’t manage to do it. But I made a small mistake at the beginning and lost one place to Ferrari. I had to re-overtake him and it took a little time. I got past the people quite easily but if you look in the end I think we still took too long and we couldn’t win the race.
“But at least we got the podium with both cars. After the last race we tried hard and failed, and probably people thought we were a bit stupid. Even after yesterday what we did. But it turned out to be the right decision, and I think the team deserves what we have achieved now. We have been working hard. We’ve not been 100 per cent happy with how the weekends have run so far but finally we’ve got some proper results for the team, so it’s an important step.”
Raikkonen admitted that had he got past Romain Grosjean earlier, he might have had a better shot at passing Sebastian Vettel.
“Yeah, but there are no team orders and we know the rules,” said Kimi. “I try to get past as quickly as I can but it’s not easy with two similar cars. It’s always easy to say afterwards ‘if we had done that’ but in the end we were not fast enough to win and we have to take the second.
“I got one chance on Sebastian but I chose the wrong side under braking, so that was it really. In the end I didn’t have any other chances to try. It’s disappointing to finish second but after the last race we have to take it and be pretty happy.”
He said he did have one good go at passing Vettel: “I think like you saw on TV I got close enough once to have a chance to try but I chose the wrong side, so that’s about it. After that my tyres dropped off a bit and I couldn’t get close enough. Yep, next time we try, hopefully we can put ourselves in a similar position later on this season in the next coming races. It’s not going to be easy but we will try. And that would be nice.”