Just four races into his comeback after two years out of the sport spent rallying, the 32-year-old Finn, looking for his 19th career win, challenged winner Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull for victory, and said he hoped to push for victory again during the season.
He said: “We had the car already in the first three races to be up there, but we made some small mistakes and it cost us too much. Today wasn’t far away.
“I really should have made it, but I didn’t so, like I said, hopefully we can put ourselves in this position more often to have a chance.”
Raikkonen admitted that he didn’t make the most of his one realistic opportunity to pass Vettel on lap 36.
“We got one try on Sebastian, but I couldn’t use it because I chose the wrong side and then my tyres dropped off and that was it,” said Raikkonen, a near-neighbour of Vettel in Switzerland where the Finn, he claims, normally beats the German at table tennis.
“I pretty much knew that was my only chance.”
The result is especially important to Lotus, with the British manufacturer only returning to the sport in 2010 following a 15 year hiatus from racing. The last time they were successful as a team was in 1978, when they won both the driver’s and constructor’s championship.