• Bahrain Grand Prix

Raikkonen enjoys better chance of title than 2012

ESPN Staff
April 18, 2013 « Gonzalez gets Marussia FP1 run | More potential in Sauber - Hulkenberg »
Kimi Raikkonen sits just three points behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel © Sutton Images
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Kimi Raikkonen says he has a better chance of winning the world championship this year than he did in 2012.

While Lotus was strong at many circuits last season, Raikkonen was only able to pick up one victory all year and it was his consistency which kept him in the title hunt late in to the season. This year he started off with victory in Australia and after another competitive showing in China Raikkonen admits he is already in a better position to fight for the title.

"In some ways yes [I have a better chance] because we started better," Raikkonen said. "I know the team and I kind of know what to expect and what's going to come. I think we did pretty OK last year so hopefully we can do a bit better this year but obviously it's a long season and we have some bad races and we might be out. So when we have a bad race we have to try to minimise those and make the most out of it."

One area where Lotus appears stronger is in qualifying, with Raikkonen securing a front-row grid slot last weekend. However, he says the one-lap pace is likely to fluctuate throughout the year.

"I think when you get it right it's good and when you don't it's not so good. It hasn't been easy to get it right but that's always the case in Formula One, it's never easy to get the best out of the cars and set-ups and everything to put them together for a single lap. In the first races we had different weather and didn't show our speed really but in the last race it was OK. Is it here? I don't know, hopefully it is. It should make the race easier but like we saw at the last race I made a bad start and that doesn't really help to be in the front."

While Pirelli has come under criticism for its rapidly degrading tyres in recent races and actually switched the soft compound for the medium in Bahrain, Raikkonen says the tyre impact is overrated and that the sport has barely changed throughout his career.

"I don't think racing at the front is any different than it has been in the past. Obviously the cars are quite different and in some years you had it quite easy to overtake and some not but it depends a lot on your own car. If your car is good and you're quick then as a starting point the racing itself is the same. Different tyres sometimes, but F1 hasn't really changed a lot in 10-odd years that I've been here. It's more or less the same people, same teams; the rules keep changing but it doesn't affect F1 an awful lot when we race the same way in the same places."