Lotus says Raikkonen is performing as expected after strong return to F1
|By Edd Straw and Jonathan Noble||Monday, April 23rd 2012, 10:37 GMT|
Kimi Raikkonen's performance in the Bahrain Grand Prix is exactly what Lotus was expecting of the Finn this year, according to team owner Gerard Lopez.
Although some questioned the wisdom of the Enstone-based team luring Raikkonen back to F1 after two years away from the sport, Lopez insists that he never had doubts the former world champion would deliver.
"I remember not being happy about the interview where people kept on coming back to saying it's a gamble," Lopez told AUTOSPORT. "The guy's a world champion: he's not old, he's fit and he's motivated.
"I've seen him before at teams and I've never seen him this way before in terms of his work patterns and his behaviour. So I honestly think he is where he has to be, where he thought he would be and where he expects to be.
"He has always been a natural, and you don't lose that. If you've got the speed you've got the speed.
"I could see that he was fit, so we had high hopes that he would deliver, and I think this is confirmation of that choice."
Lopez is also confident that Lotus has the potential to keep up the rate of development that will be needed to keep itself in contention for victory over the remainder of the season.
"Not many people realise that last year we had as many development packages as Red Bull did, it is just that ours didn't work," he said. "The year before they all worked but the starting car wasn't that good.
"I remember seeing an article that we were the second most improved team of the season, so this year with a good car and developments that will hopefully work we hope to be able to put up a good fight."