Kimi Raikkonen has backed the Formula 1 race stewards’ decision on his Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel’s penalty for colliding with Valtteri Bottas as he powered his way up the order to the podium at the French Grand Prix.

The Finnish driver was briefly held up after Vettel clattered into Bottas at the first turn but battled back through the pack to take the final rostrum place in the closing laps from Daniel Ricciardo in a “wounded” Red Bull.

Having profited from the first corner clash between his Ferrari teammate and the Mercedes driver, Raikkonen has played down Vettel’s controversial five-second time penalty which still enabled him to finish the race in fifth place and ahead of Bottas in seventh place.

“I saw quickly what happened but not the part when they touched,” Raikkonen said. “Things happen, there are stewards that give the penalties if they feel it’s right.

“Is it fair sometimes? Maybe not but I think it balances out in the long run between all of us. It was unfortunate for both of them but that happens sometimes.”

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Raikkonen’s rostrum marks his first return to the top three since also profiting similar incident at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix when both Red Bulls crashed out together before Bottas suffered a penultimate lap tyre puncture while Vettel out-braked himself during a late race charge for victory.

"It felt quite slippery at the start. I chose the outside but it was the wrong way and I had to slow down a bit," he said. "I got a bit blocked with all the mayhem that happened.

"Then it was a decent recovery, long stint, and things worked well. We had enough speed and managed to get the podium."

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