"It was quite difficult out there," admitted Raikkonen, who revealed that he'd wanted to get a new front wing but been talked out of it by the team. "I think they looked at the wing at the first pitstop and probably thought it would take too long.
"Obviously the car is not designed like that otherwise we would use it all the time, but I was surprised how good it was still," he added. "Of course, there were some handling issues which was not ideal, but we just had to try to live with it and we still had pretty okay speed."
After that it was a case of focussing on what was still possible with the battle-scarred car. Fernando Alonso was increasingly out of reach at the front, but Raikkonen had enough in hand over Lewis Hamilton to ensure second place, even before the Mercedes started to struggle with late tyre wear and then become further distracted holding off Sebastian Vettel in a fierce fight for third on the final lap.
"Second wasn't quite what we wanted, but in the circumstances it was the best that we could manage today," said Raikkonen. "I'm not 100% happy because we didn't win, but it is what it is and second place is a good result after a bad start and the incident with Sergio."
Meanwhile, Raikkonen's team mate Romain Grosjean had a subdued day in China, dropping from sixth place on the grid to ninth place at the chequered flag over the course of the race in Shanghai.
"It was a long, tough race and again we not able to make it work quite as well as we wanted - I'm definitely not happy with ninth place," he said. "Unfortunately we could not manage it. I did as much as I could, but I couldn't get the performance I wanted and being in traffic of course affects this."
"Romain had a more difficult day, but he scored points in another race which is positive," said Lotus team principal Eric Boullier. "We feel he's reached a turning point now where things will start coming together