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Lotus labels Kimi Raikkonen's Monza performance exceptional

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Monza, 2012Lotus trackside operations director Alan Permane reckoned Kimi Raikkonen drove an "exceptional" race to salvage fifth place from the Italian Grand Prix.

After podium finishes in Belgium and Hungary, Lotus dropped off the pace in Italy, with Raikkonen only qualifying eighth.

On race day the Finn used a one-stop strategy with a very short first stint to rise to fifth and hold off the two-stopping Mercedes.

That result moved Raikkonen up to third in the drivers' championship, 38 points behind leader Fernando Alonso and just one point behind Lewis Hamilton.

"We weren't looking forward to coming to Monza as it doesn't play to the strengths of our car so we're very happy to come away with fifth place from Kimi," said Permane.

"He drove exceptionally well at a circuit where we knew we weren't going to be super competitive. It's fantastic that he has moved up into third place in the drivers' championship, and is now just one point off second."

While relatively pleased with his result, Raikkonen was frustrated that points leader Alonso pulled further away.

"It's good to go into third position in the drivers' championship but we lost some points to Fernando which is not ideal," said the Finn.

"It was a difficult weekend as we were too slow in a straight line, making it very difficult to hold off anyone and even with the DRS it was difficult to overtake the cars in front.

"We came into the race looking for sixth or seventh so fifth is the maximum we could have done here this weekend."

Jerome d'Ambrosio, standing in for the banned Romain Grosjean in the second Lotus, finished only 13th after KERS problems.

"It was a pretty long and difficult race for me today," he said.

"After losing my KERS on lap six it was always going to be tough as that's worth about half a second per lap around here.

"I got a good start and was up fighting with Daniel [Ricciardo] and Nico [Rosberg], but once I lost that extra boost it was impossible to keep up and I dropped back."

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Raikkonen counts on better race pace