Raikkonen recovering after surgery

Lotus Formula One driver Heikki Kovalainen of Finland gives an interview after arriving at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas on November 14, 2013. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

REUTERS - Kimi Raikkonen's back surgery has been successful and the Finn will start a recovery programme next week, his Lotus Formula One team said on Friday.

They said in a statement at the U.S. Grand Prix, where the 2007 champion has been replaced by compatriot Heikki Kovalainen for the final two races, that the driver was operated on in Strasbourg, France, on Thursday.

"Lotus F1 Team is happy to report that the operation was totally successful," they said.

"Kimi will now rest for a few days and he will start his recovery process as early as next week. Everyone at the track and at Enstone wishes him a quick recovery."

Raikkonen - currently third overall in the championship - will not race again for Lotus since the Finn is joining Ferrari after next week's season-ender in Brazil.

He suffered back pain during the Singapore Grand Prix in September and decided last Sunday to have the operation instead of completing the season. Raikkonen has also complained about not being paid by his team.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Justin Palmer)

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