Kimi Raikkonen says his third place finish in the Austrian Grand Prix has come as an unexpected surprise despite feeling he had the pace to potentially challenge for victory in Spielberg.

The Ferrari driver profited from the Mercedes drivers' last-lap clash by nipping ahead of Nico Rosberg to take the final step of the rostrum after hounding Red Bull's Max Verstappen in the closing stages.

Raikkonen showed impressive pace over the opening and closing laps but a misjudged pit stop saw him come out in traffic and behind both Red Bulls which he struggled with during the middle third of the race.

The Finn's late reprise on to the podium therefore came as a welcomed present but feels with an optimum strategy he could have challenged higher.

"It's better to be on the podium and it's better than fourth place," Raikkonen said. "That was a big gift for us but we'll take it with no complaints. We had pretty good speed at the beginning, I was saving tyres a bit and pushing, we were catching then losing time to Mercedes - it went like that for a while, it was pretty close.

"Then once we made a pit stop I found myself in fifth position. It was a bit hard after that, obviously the safety cars and stuff, but the biggest issue was probably with the first Red Bull [Daniel Ricciardo], trying to get past him.

"We had good speed but it was so difficult to get close enough and when I did get closer I couldn't find the traction to challenge him. Then luckily on one lap I managed to get a jump on him, then the speed was good and I kind of ran out of the laps.

"Without the yellow flags we could have got Max, but that's how it goes. He got second, I got third. Disappointed but better than nothing, we've got some points back on Rosberg, so that helps."

Raikkonen's third place coupled with Sebastian Vettel's DNF after a dramatic tyre failure on the main straight sees the Finn draw level on points with his Ferrari team-mate in third in the F1 championship on 96 points.


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