Kimi pleased with ‘encouraging start’

Date published: April 5 2012

Although frustrated by a few early-season hiccups, Kimi Raikkonen believes Lotus can take plenty of positives out of their start to the 2012 campaign…

Although frustrated by a few early-season hiccups, Kimi Raikkonen believes Lotus can take plenty of positives out of their start to the 2012 campaign.

The Finn has made a solid return to Formula One, finishing seventh in the first race in Australia and following it up with a P5 at the Malaysian Grand Prix a week later.

However, the start of the season has not been without problems as the team had some issues with upper front wishbone rear arm of the E20 during testing while it was also not plain sailing for Raikkonen during the first two races.

The 32-year-old, though, feels Lotus have proved that they can deal with any nasty surprises.

“I think we’ve got off to an encouraging start,” he told the Lotus website.

“It’s been frustrating sometimes with the chassis issues in testing, the qualifying mix-up in Australia and the gearbox change in Malaysia, but we’ve shown we can deal with any problems and come back stronger.

“It feels like I’ve never been away; the team has done a good job and I’m working well with them which makes things easier. The car feels good and we clearly have the pace to be at the front; we just need some better luck.”

After two years away from F1, a lot of people feel they are seeing a “new Kimi” this season but the 2007 World Champion says he is simply more relaxed due to the vibe at Lotus.

“I’m still the same person as I was before,” Raikkonen said.

“Maybe people see me as more relaxed, which I think is down to the team. It’s a different atmosphere to what I’ve experienced before; everyone is very open and laid back but at the same time they work extremely hard and pay a lot of attention to detail.

“I feel comfortable here which helps me to focus on racing; I guess that’s why people seem to think I’m a different person, but I’m just as focused and motivated as before.”