At odds with the general consensus across social media, Kimi Raikkonen has admitted to not enjoying the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix, describing his run to third place as “painful”.
Raikkonen started on the front row alongside team-mate Sebastian Vettel but lost out at the start to Valtteri Bottas. The Finn got shuffled further back when he stopped last of the leading group for tyres, by which time the leading quintet had all got by.
“It was quite a painful race and not a very enjoyable one,” said Raikkonen. “At the start I had a good jump, but then I had to back off and this cost me a few places.
After the pit stop the car was pretty fast and the feeling was good; at that point we were behind, but I could see the other cars at the end of the straight.”
A mid-race safety car allowed Raikkonen to close the gap to the leaders and a collision between Vettel and Max Verstappen enabled to the Finn to take what had become third place from Lewis Hamilton.
“The safety car helped us, at that time we had fresh tires,” Raikkonen continued. “I would say it took us back in the race. In the end I had a decent speed with the Mediums against the guys that were on the same tires, but getting close to them and try to follow was really tricky.”
Despite having fresher tyres, Raikkonen was unable to find a way by Bottas in the closing stages.
“For sure we were faster than Valtteri, but when you get close it becomes more difficult, you lose so much grip in the process and lose so much downforce, especially in this kind of circuit.
“I just couldn’t get enough of a run on him. Today we take the third place, but obviously when you start from the first row it’s far from ideal. We’ll try to do better next time.”