• Australian Grand Prix

Lotus capable of more - Raikkonen

ESPNF1 Staff
March 18, 2012 « Kovalainen hit with Sepang penalty | Grosjean blames Maldonado for crash »
Kimi Raikkonen: "It feels like I've never been away" © Sutton Images
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Kimi Raikkonen is confident Lotus was capable of a much better result at the Australian Grand Prix, but after qualifying 18th and working back through the field, said he was happy to settle for seventh.

Raikkonen got a good start and, despite having to avoid a collision between Bruno Senna and Daniel Ricciardo, was 12th by the end of the first lap. He then engaged in a race-long battle with the Saubers and looked set to finish tenth before incidents on the final lap promoted him three places.

"It feels like I've never been away," he said. "Yesterday we made some mistakes which cost us quite badly so it could easily have been better in the race. I made a good start but then there was an accident in front of me at the first turn, so we lost a few places there as I had to almost stop and move onto the grass to avoid it.

"That made the race harder again as we had the speed, but a lot of traffic to get through. When you look at all these things we could have finished in a much better position. We had the safety car which I think actually hurt us a bit as well. Overall the weekend was far from ideal, but the car feels good and to come back to 7th means we at least come away with some points."

Team principal Eric Boullier said Raikkonen's performance was proof that Lotus has race pace as well as the qualifying pace Romain Grosjean showed by qualifying third on Saturday.

"Kimi has been able to demonstrate that we have more than just single-lap pace; gaining 11 places in his first race after a two-year break is certainly a satisfying performance. We're now all looking forward to Sepang, a completely different track, where we hope we'll be able to put on another decent show. We think there's definitely more to come from us."