The 2007 world champion ultimately finished second and even had a stab at overtaking winner Sebastian Vettel.
And he might have had an ever better chance at challenging the Red Bull had his Lotus team chiefs ordered teammate Romain Grosjean aside at a crucial moment.
“Yeah,” confirmed Finn Raikkonen, “but there are no team orders and we know the rules.
“I tried to get past as quickly as I can but it’s not easy with two similar cars.
“It’s always easy to say afterwards ‘if we had done that’ but in the end we were not fast enough to win and we have to take the second,” he added.
Despite team orders being effectively legal in F1, team boss Eric Boullier confirmed that Lotus does not follow that policy.
“We don’t want to play team orders, so we let them race normally and what happened, happened,” he is quoted by the Mirror.
The most important thing, according to Spanish commentator and former veteran F1 engineer Joan Villadelprat, is that the former Renault team still knows how to win.
“Maybe they don’t have the best car on the grid, because McLaren and Red Bull and Mercedes are probably better, but Lotus have made a car capable of competing with the best in the right circumstances,” he wrote in El Pais newspaper.