|© Lorenzo Bellanca/LAT Photographic/Lotus
After a fifth place finish at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday, Kimi Raikkonen moved up to third place in the drivers’ championship and within a realistic shout of claiming the title this season.
The Lotus driver started the race at Monza from seventh on the grid and made up two places by the end to collect ten points.
As a result the Finn is now just a single point behind McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton and 38 away from championship leader Fernando Alonso. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel trails the former Ferrari driver by a solitary point in fourth.
"It’s good to go into third position in the drivers’ championship but we lost some points to Fernando which is not ideal,” Raikkonen said after the 53-lap race. “We came into the race looking for sixth or seventh so fifth is the maximum we could have done here this weekend.”
Team principal Eric Boullier echoed Raikkonen’s views about Lotus’ performance but remained optimistic for the rest of the year considering his star driver finished in the top five in his last six races, which included four podiums.
“The key to a good championship position at the end of the season is always scoring points, even when it is a difficult weekend,” Boullier said. “We are still in contact with those ahead of us in both championships with seven races to go.”
Raikkonen has finished in the top five in his last six races which included four podiums.
Lotus however was unable to Raikkonen’s ten points in the constructors’ tally after Jerome D’Ambrosio - who filled in for the suspended Romain Grosjean at the Italian GP - finished 13th after a KERS failure on lap 6 compromised his outing.
“My main aim was to finish the race and I’ve achieved that so it’s not so bad overall,” the Belgian said. “It was great to be back in the car and especially with such a fantastic team; I’ve learnt a lot this weekend.”