Raikkonen back on the podium despite injury

Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:18pm EDT
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By Patrick Johnston

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Kimi Raikkonen enjoyed an unexpected podium finish at the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday after racing from 13th to third despite a back injury that had threatened to prevent him driving.

The Lotus driver had taken pain killers to get through qualifying on Saturday but he improved overnight and made the most of a shrewd strategy on race day to claim his seventh podium of the Formula One season.

"I didn't feel it too much in the race," the 2007 world champion said of his ailment. "Yesterday not ideal and I almost didn't drive. We have to be happy enough with finishing third and we can sort the problems for the next race.

"It is not the first time I have had some issues with my back and I know I have some work to do over the winter so we will see what we can do."

The Finn, who will rejoin Ferrari next season after leaving them in 2009 and spending two years out of the sport, opted to pit on lap 26 under the safety car and expertly managed his tires to finish the 61 lap race without any further change.

It was the same tactic employed by Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who finished second and who will be with Raikkonen at the Italian team next season.

"We had a plan and we know that at the moment the safety car goes in we would try and go to the end. I knew that would happen and lucky that some other teams couldn't do it and they had to pit," the Finn said.

As those other teams pitted, Raikkonen moved up to fourth and into a battle with McLaren's Jenson Button who he eventually overtook on the outside with a canny move on lap 55.   Continued...

Lotus F1 Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland celebrates on the podium after the Singapore F1 Grand Prix at the Marina Bay street circuit in Singapore September 22, 2013. REUTERS/Pablo Sanchez