Kimi Raikkonen has grown used to seeing flashes of green and orange in his mirrors in the past few weeks, but insists that, as at Spa-Francorchamps, he wasn't unduly worried about being passed by a Force India driver.

Having jumped Adrian Sutil off the line at Monza - something he failed to do to Giancarlo Fisichella in Belgium - the 2007 world champion was dogged by the German throughout the 53 laps, but maintains that he always held the upper hand in their battle, even when Sutil closed him down towards the end of each of their three stints.

"I think it was very similar to the last race with Fisichella," the Finn claimed, "Okay, sometimes it looks as if it gets very close in the middle of a chicane, but then, once you get to the corner exit and you start accelerating, and he's still in the chicane, it opens up again, so it never really got very close, not so that I would need to defend or anything like that.

"They seem to be fast in a straight line, fast through the corners, so, for sure, I needed to make sure that I didn't make a mistake. I got a good run in the few places on the circuit where I knew that his only chance was going to be and, so long as I didn't make a mistake in those two places, it was okay."

Ironically, Sutil's best chance of passing Raikkonen came when the Finn made a slight error during his second and final pit-stop, but the Force India driver was having problems of his own, having bowled over a couple of his crew after a hasty arrival in his box.

"I was in a hurry to get out as I knew it was going to be very close," Raikkonen admitted, "The lollipop guy just moved a little bit, and I was ready to go, but he put it back down and I stopped. Luckily enough, the fuel rig was out and I could go - we lost a little bit of time, but not too much. It would not have been enough for beating McLaren at the pit-stops, but we could keep the Force India behind and, in the end, it did not make much difference."

The McLaren in question was that of reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, who had led from pole after leaving Raikkonen less than enough space to try a pass into the first corner. Having chased the Briton throughout, however, the Finn was gifted the final podium spot when the McLaren speared into the barriers between the two Lesmos bends.

"I got a very good start, but them something happened with Lewis," Kimi recalled, "He slowed down, but I had nowhere to go and had to go around the left, half on the grass. If I had had some space to go around him, I would have got him at the start.

"Anyhow, it didn't really change the end of the race, as he went off. We got third place a little bit on a gift, but it doesn't matter. It all counts. I still think we did the right thing [with the two-stop strategy], and we got the best out of the car. We know that we're where the top cars are, but we're not as fast. The car feels more or less okay, but we're just missing grip - we're sliding more than the others and that's the penalty that we have to pay. Third place for us is very good, and we're still keeping position in the championship which is what we're aiming for."

The Finn is hoping to end the year on a high, possibly with a second victory, even though Ferrari has publicly confirmed that it is focusing more on 2010.

"We're not going to have any more new parts for the car, so it is what it is right now, but Singapore should suit it better, a bit more than Valencia, Monaco anyway," Raikkonen commented, "Hopefully, there, we will have a bit more of a chance to challenge for first place, but I don't know. We will wait and see. Hopefully we can be stronger there."


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment