Kimi Raikkonen believes he could have attempted to wrest third place from Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel in the closing laps had the safety car not been deployed.

The Finn shrugged off his sixth place starting position to leapfrog the Williams' ahead on the opening lap, but would proceed to spend the remainder of the race chasing Vettel in the sister Ferrari.

However, Raikkonen feels he was the quicker driver during the final stint and, despite getting held up by traffic, says he was primed to launch an attack on Vettel for third position in the closing laps, only to be scuppered by a late safety car period that ran to the chequered flag.

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"I got a pretty good jump off the line and could pass the two Williams in the first two corners, then it was really a race with Sebastian in the end. We ran slightly different laps on different sets of tyres, and in the end overall I had a pretty good car, the first time this year there was no damage on any part of the car.

"[Before the safety car] I was catching and I probably could have had a try at least, but it is what it is."

Content with the result given his starting position, though Raikkonen admits he would have liked to be closer to Mercedes, he is satisfied with the team heading in the correct direction at least.

"It is not ideal for the team to be beaten by Mercedes, but I think we have to be realistic where we are now compared to where we started last year, so we know what we are doing and if we keep working in the same way, then I am sure we will get there.

"Some races might be a bit closer, but after yesterday's mistake it was more or less maximum. Good for the team but we are not happy to be third and fourth, and we want to really push for the wins. We will keep pushing in the same direction as we have done so far and push to the limits."

Reflecting on his disappointing qualifying performance - which he candidly described at the time as 's**t' -, Raikkonen admits it is an area for improvement.

"It doesn't help to put ourselves in a more difficult position for the race and it is never easy to overtake. I probably could have tried [to pass Seb] at least, but there was a safety car at the end.

"I think after yesterday we at least gained some positions and we had a pretty good car. This result is more or less maximum for the team. We are not happy but we have make Saturdays more correct as that gives you bigger chances and an easier life in the race."