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MOTORSPORT: Consistency is the key
6:35pm Wednesday 13th March 2013 in Sport
Kimi Raikkonen is confident of making a strong start to the new Formula 1 season despite the gremlins that plagued testing.
Of the 11 teams on the F1 grid this season, Lotus completed the fewest number of laps due to a variety of niggles, although their pace was eye-catching.
Lotus also appear to have a handle on managing the latest range of Pirelli tyres that have been criticised by many for the speed at which they degrade.
Assessing the forthcoming campaign, that starts this weekend around Melbourne’s Albert Park, Raikkonen has no doubts the testing issues are behind the team.
“We had some problems, but we still completed quite a few laps,” he said.
“Of course you always want more laps, but it is what it is. I’m not really concerned about reliability or anything like that.
“It was the same problem which caused us the biggest problems in testing and we’re on top of that now.
“You can never be 100 per cent certain, but if you look at last season, we had problems before the start of the year, then we were pretty good when we got to the races.”
At least in terms of all-round performance, Raikkonen is convinced the car is a step forward from last year in which he scored points in 19 of the 20 grands prix on his return to F1 after two years away.
That, in turn, could ensure he is more of a threat in the title race this year after pushing throughout last season, only to finish third.
“You always want more, but this car is a pretty good starting point. Hopefully we’re fast enough,” said the 33-year-old Finn.
“I don’t think there’s any area where it feels worse than last year’s car. So far everything is better.
“We had good speed last year, but not enough to win the championship. That means we need more speed this year.
“If we can get a little more from the car and keep our consistency, with some better results at the beginning of the year, then we should have a much better chance.”