Raikkonen satisfied with fourth and overall progress

© XPB 

It might not have been a podium finish like last week in Singapore, but the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix was confirmation for Kimi Raikkonen that Ferrari is going in the right direction.

"I think obviously it's not ideal to finish fourth - third and fourth - but obviously we knew that this wasn't going to be our strongest place here and I think looking that point onwards we must be happy with being the second best team [behind Mercedes]," he said.

"The race was fine but obviously you start behind people for certain times so then the race comes to trying to pass them one way or another, but we got stuck and then I was looking at fourth which was more of less the best we could do from the position where we started."

Raikkonen was lucky not to get caught up in the contact between Daniel Ricciardo and Felipe Massa at the first corner which could have wrecked his afternoon.

"I saw Ricciardo coming - I had a good start I think but he got a good jump and I think he got stuck in the middle and I didn't see exactly what happened after that, honestly. It was close, I almost tried to pass the second Williams but then it got a bit tight."

The Finn had a chance to claim another position in the subsequent turns after Nico Rosberg had to back off and lost speed after surrendering the lead to his Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton in turn 2.

"I tried the Mercedes in one of the left handers, 4 or 5, when I kind of went next to him but then he just sped up. So now I'd tried to challenge them at the beginning but it was just not possible to get past them on the circuit so I just tried to save tyres and push through."

Overall though, Raikkonen was happy with the way the race had gone - especially as the high-downforce, high-aerospeed Suzuka circuit hadn't been expected to play to the Ferrari's strengths this weekend.

"Obviously some circuits are slightly more tricky depending on the layout. For our car right now, how it fits us, we know when it's going to be more tricky. But we have surprised ourselves - we expected Monza to be a bit more difficult for us and we were quite good there; here wasn't too bad even though it shouldn't be like, as you say right now, one of our favourite places."

And for Raikkonen, now confirmed as staying with the team for another season, this was good news when it came to the outlook for 2016.

"It shows that we're doing the right things and improving things so we'll keep working on those things and we know where the weaknesses are but there's a limit to the things that we can do at this time of the year and obviously I'm sure we'll keep improving little by little and for next year we'll be in a better shape.

"We will keep doing the progress and going in the right direction doing the right things. We just have to keep working and doing the same things and I'm sure we'll keep improving."

RACE REPORT: Hamilton eases to dominant Suzuka victory

AS IT HAPPENED: Japanese Grand Prix

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