Former F1 racer Karl Wendlinger has said he feels Kimi Raikkonen's return to the grid this season has been nothing short of 'sensational'.

The Finn has secured five podium finishes so far this season - including three in the last four races - to sit fifth in the championship standings despite the fact he has been away from the sport for the past two years.

In fact, Raikkonen has only failed to score once this season - when worn tyres at the end of the Chinese race saw him slip down the order - to emerge as a true championship contender if Lotus can maintain form and push for victories in the second half of the year.

Speaking to Servus TV, former Sauber driver Wendlinger - who saw his F1 career all but ended by an accident in Monaco back in 1994 - said he was hugely impressed with the way in which Raikkonen has made his return and said he felt the former Ferrari man was one of five drivers who can be crowned champion this season.

"He is at a very high level," the Austrian said. "After a two-year break, to have a lot of podiums already is sensational. He is very fast in the races and again and again is going for the wins. I think everyone up to and including Raikkonen in fifth place can still fight for this championship."

Wendlinger said that Raikkonen's drive to second in Hungary was an indication of why he will be a contender.

"Kimi was not World Champion for nothing," he said. "His lifestyle was maybe not the best, but whoever can fight in the temperatures we saw in Hungary until the last lap must be in good condition."