Kimi Raikkonen struggled in Singapore but still managed to pick up eight points for sixth place © Sutton Images

Kimi Raikkonen says Lotus has to improve on its Singapore performance in order to remain in the championship hunt.

After finishing sixth in Singapore, Raikkonen remains third in the drivers' championship but has now fallen 45 points behind leader Fernando Alonso. Lotus was never in the hunt for the podium around the street circuit with Raikkonen having qualified 12th - almost two seconds off the pace - and he warned things would not be getting easier as its rivals develop their cars.

"We should get some new parts and setting up the car the way I like it to be depends on the weather and on the circuit," Raikkonen said. "We know the speed is there in our car, we just have to find the right set-up to maximise it every time. We give it our best shot to be on the podium, but the races are going to get more and more difficult with other teams constantly pushing with new development parts.

"Obviously, we have to make a step forward from Singapore - where we were nowhere - to be fighting for top places. It's impossible to predict how our car will go in the next races. We have to wait until Friday practice to decide how to approach the race."

With Suzuka featuring a number of high-speed corners, however, Raikkonen believes the circuit will suit Lotus.

"It is one of the more difficult tracks and part of racing at Suzuka is that there are usually quite a few accidents. When you are on the limit, a driver will always have some big moments during the weekend at a fast circuit and Suzuka really punishes the driver due to the speed of the track and the small run-off areas. It's a great circuit; very quick and challenging for both car and driver. You need an aerodynamically strong car there, and a solid car to go through those fast, long sweeping corners. I think that suits the E20."

While still in the championship hunt, Raikkonen added that he thinks he'll need to win at least one race to take the title. When asked if he could become champion without winning a race he replied: "I think it's very difficult to say.

"There are too many things that could happen over the next few races. I guess if you look at it mathematically then yes, I could, but personally I feel you have to win at least one race to make sure you are World Champion. There would have to be some big dramas if I were to take it from Fernando [Alonso] or Sebastian [Vettel] without winning a race, so all I can do is keep moving forward and trying to win. That's all I set out to do anyway, every time I step into the car."