Sebastian Vettel may still be in a league of his own, but Kimi Raikkonen believes Lotus have closed the gap to the front-runners.
After finding himself 0.666 off the pace of Vettel's Red Bull in Free Practice 1 at Albert Park on Friday, the Finn reduced that gap to 0.453 to finish fourth fastest in FP2.
Although the defending Champion will be the man to catch come qualifying and race day in Melbourne on Sunday, Raikkonen feels his Enstone squad are there or thereabouts.
"I think even compared to the last races [of 2012], it feels like we are a bit closer," he is quoted as saying by Autosport.
"We saw Vettel being fast today but all the rest, everybody else, it looks tight and they are close to each other.
"But it is only the first Friday. So let's see how it goes in the first two races and we will go from there."
Red Bull's pace though made everyone sit up and take note and they are likely to go even quicker come Sunday as Vettel's best time came on a set of soft tyres that was well worn.
Raikkonen, however, is not too downbeat as he feels Lotus can still improve.
"For sure we can improve ourselves also quite a bit," he said. "They [Red Bull] were fast on the harder tyres, so you expect that they would have been a bit faster on the super soft. But you never know.
"Some other teams did not improve so much with the super soft. But it is what it is and the race is a different story. It is just the first Friday."
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