Kimi Raikkonen says once he lost the chance to attack Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas he endured a “boring” Brazilian Grand Prix and felt comfortable defending against a late Lewis Hamilton charge to keep third place.

The Finnish driver’s podium marks his third consecutive P3 finish in the Americas flyaway races having been unable to challenge the front row duo after struggling with the balance of his Ferrari in the opening laps.

With a lighter fuel load Raikkonen felt his car come back towards him and looked to reel in Bottas and Vettel after his pit stop to switch to soft tyres but felt his attack was restrained running in turbulent air with the 2017-specifciation F1 cars.

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“My car was pretty good, not in the first part, that was a bit tricky, but closer to the first pit stop it got a bit better and then the second tyres on the softs after the stop it was very good,” Raikkonen said. “I took it easy in the beginning and I was still catching up the guys at the front but I felt I took care of my tyres and once I pushed I could get close but you can’t really do anything.

“Unfortunately the cars this year in this kind of place they can be very difficult to pass and it gets a bit boring unfortunately. I thought that I had a lot of speed but there was nothing that I could have done. I stayed around the same distance from Valtteri. It was a good end but I wanted more.”

While both Mercedes and Ferrari were relatively well matched for straight-line speed in Interlagos, Raikkonen says he was able to keep an eye on Hamilton’s progress to secure his seventh podium of the season. Hamilton locked up his front tyres on two occasions at turn one attacking Raikkonen late on, the Finnish driver admitted he suffered the same fate having been distracted looking for the Mercedes car in his mirrors.

“I had a few lock ups in the first corner basically for no real reason but I was checking on Hamilton from the mirrors as it is hard to see when you are spread out and you can lose sight of them,” he said. “I had a very good last few corners and I could see when we pulled out of the last corner that he was quite far away.

“I know they are very fast when they put the full power and full engine with DRS they can catch up a lot at the end of the straight but I was quite comfortable in the lead. I had a good gap in the last three corners.

“I was surprised that he got closer to me in the last few laps and that is why I locked up a few times at turn one as I was looking too much in the mirrors and not braking so heavy so locked a little bit.”

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The number 7 FERRARI had better pace in the middle sector and that meant that Kimi started the long run up the hill with enough margin to keep number 44 at arm's length,