- Second Barcelona Test, Day Four
Lotus not worried by Mercedes' pace
Lotus team principal Eric Boullier is not worried by the pace Lewis Hamilton showed during Saturday's test, but says it's not surprise to see the Mercedes near the top.
Hamilton went comfortably faster than any other driver on the penultimate day of testing, setting a 1:20.558 on his final day in the car. But Boullier said the time was not a concern for Lotus: "I'm not saying we're confident, but it's not a worry."
"I think they've definitely improved," he said of Mercedes. "But if you remember last year they were competitive at the beginning of the season as well. So there is no reason why they would not be competitive again at the beginning of the season, so let's wait and see in Melbourne."
He also thinks that there could be a noticeable difference between cars that are quick over one lap in qualifying and cars that will be quick over the course of the race.
"There is a big challenge to see what is going on because there was one-lap performance from some teams and especially the Mercedes car was fast, definitely," Boullier added. "Then you have a different story when you go for higher fuel and the race simulation. I think the [one-lap] performance order will be different to the order in the race, so that's going to be interesting.
"But there is still a question mark about the tyres. Obviously the conditions are a bit different compared to what the tyres have been designed for. I think with hot temperature at coming races it's going to be different behaviour."
He said Lotus was as confident as it was last year - when Kimi Raikkonen came away from pre-season testing with the fastest time - that the team will be competitive at the opening races.
"We have a similar confidence we will have some good results at the coming races. But you can feel there are more teams capable of delivering as well, so it's going to be tricky."
But Boullier said Lotus was in a slightly better position than 12 months ago as both its drivers now have a season's worth of experience at the team.
"Kimi towards the end of the season was delivering a lot more in qualifying than at the beginning and I think both drivers are going to be ready from race one and a better fit and in better race condition than last year," he said. "So we should be able, as a team, to deliver more from race one. So yes I hope to be chasing and fighting for the top positions."