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Raikkonen: No doubts I could hold on to second
28 July 2013
The build-up to the Hungarian Grand Prix suggested that Kimi Raikkonen was off the pace and et to struggle at the Hungaroring, but in the end he put in a battling performance on a risky two-stop tyre strategy to work his way up into an impressive second place by the chequered flag.
Raikkonen's final pit stop came on lap 44, meaning that in the closing stint of the race the Lotus was on tyres 13 laps older than those on Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull. Many onlookers assumed he'd be forced into a late extra pit stop, but Raikkonen toughed it out and was rewarded with the runner-up spot on the podium as a result.
Afterwards, the Finn said he'd never had any concerns that he would indeed be able to pull off the audacious gambit.
"I knew it was going to be a bit tight, but the tyres felt good with 10 laps to go and it was only in the last two laps that they dropped off quite badly," said Raikkonen. "I didn't really have any doubts that I could keep him behind and I had a good speed in the last sector so I knew in the first corner he would not have a chance.
"Obviously you take a chance when you make so many laps with one set of tyres, but the team worked well and everything went well for us," he added.
Raikkonen lamented a poor qualifying on Saturday which had left him starting from sixth place while his team mate Romain Grosjean had been able to start three places ahead, saying that if not for that then he could probably have fought for the win.
"I keep making my life difficult on Saturdays so then we pay a price," he admitted. "But I had a good car and we managed to do two stops - that was the only way really to jump people.
"But second is better than nothing," Raikkonen said. "In the end it was quite close with Seb but it paid off for us and we gained some points in the championship."
As a result of the way the race finished in Budapest, Raikkonen is now in second place in the world championship stakes one point ahead of Fernando Alonso - but still a huge 38 points adrift of the reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel.
Before the race, Raikkonen had admitted that there was an 'issue' with his wages from the team, although he insisted that he wasn't concerned about being paid.
"Sure there is an issue but we had it last year and we have it again," Raikkonen said. "It's not ideal but I'm sure they will pay at some point."
Raikkonen continues to be connected with the second seat at Red Bull in 2014 alongside Sebastian Vettel in place of the departing Mark Webber, although paddock consensus over the weekend seemed to back Daniel Ricciardo to get the nod for promotion from the Toro Rosso junior team instead.
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