Raikkonen says third place relieves the pressure

raikkonen-2.jpgKimi Raikkonen has said that his third-placed finish at Monaco should ease the pressure on the Ferrari team.

The Finn was quick all weekend at Monaco and, but for a poor start, could have been challenging for second or even the win. His team-mate Felipe Massa also managed a good fourth, and Raikkonen told Reuters that it was the start of the Ferrari comeback.

“It’s disappointing to finish third but good for the team and for sure we’re happier now as a team and we’re scoring points. We’ll probably get a little more peace now from everyone as a team,” said the man from Espoo.

He stressed that there was still work to do to catch Brawn, however.

“I think, overall, we’re not fast enough really yet to fight for first place but we need to be happy; we’ve still got good results for the team compared to what we had in previous races this year. We’re coming back but it will take a while before we’re exactly where we want to be but we definitely made big steps in recent months.”

Raikkonen pointed to the work done by the Ferrari designers to work within the rules once the double-deck diffuser of Brawn, Toyota and Williams was declared legal.

“The people have been working very hard at the factory and here at the circuit, so we improved the car very quickly once we realised we can do something different with the rules,” said Raikkonen.

The pressure of which Raikkonen speaks is mainly on the team, which has endured a difficult start to the season. But the Finn himself is also thought to be under pressure for his seat from Fernando Alonso, who is believed to have a definite agreement with the Italian marque for 2011. Speculation has continued that unless Raikkonen improves, Alonso may be brought in a year early.

Ferrari’s driver politics are of course dependent on their continued participation in the sport.