Ferrari boss hails Raikkonen's return

Sun Apr 19, 2015 3:42pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

MANAMA (Reuters) - Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene welcomed back the Kimi Raikkonen of old on Sunday after the 2007 world champion stepped back on the Formula One podium in Bahrain after a long absence.

The Finnish 'Iceman' took a strong second place in the floodlit race at the desert Sakhir circuit for his first top three finish since he was second for Lotus in South Korea in October 2013.

It was also his first podium finish for Ferrari since 2009, the final year of his first stint at Maranello. The Finn returned in 2014.

"I’m happy for Kimi because now I can say officially that... Kimi is back and we have two strong drivers," said Arrivabene.

Raikkonen is out of contract at the end of the season, although Ferrari have an option for 2016, and the 35-year-old has indicated he wants to stay on at the sport's most successful team.

His form has certainly picked up, after a disappointing 2014 alongside Ferrari's Fernando Alonso when he scored only 55 points to the Spaniard's 161, but so too has the team's performance.

The arrival of four-times champion Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull has already brought Ferrari their first win since 2013 and Raikkonen said on Sunday he wanted a piece of the action.

His strategy on Sunday, leaving a set of soft tires to last when others were running on slower mediums, could certainly have brought more.   Continued...

Ferrari Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland celebrates his second place on the podium after Bahrain's F1 Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit, south of Manama April 19, 2015. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed