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Raikkonen upbeat about Lotus progress

Mar 15, 2013, 11:45 PM EDT

AUTO-PRIX-AUS-F1-PRACTICE Getty Images

Kimi Raikkonen believes that Lotus has made considerable progress in closing the gap to the top teams for the start of the 2013 Formula One season.

Although he finished the 2012 championship in third place, Raikkonen told Autosport how the team had made a step forward over the winter.

“I think even compared to the last races, it feels like we are a bit closer. We saw [Sebastian] Vettel being fast today but all the rest, everybody else, it looks tight and they are close to each other.”

Like many of the drivers though, Raikkonen did not want to read too much into his Friday pace. He finished sixth in FP1 and fourth in FP2, and similar results for teammate Romain Grosjean reinforced the pace of the Lotus.

“It is only the first Friday,” Raikkonen said. “So let’s see how it goes in the first two races and we will go from there.”

“For sure we can improve ourselves also quite a bit. They [Red Bull] were fast on the harder tires, so you expect that they would have been a bit faster on the super soft. But you never know. It is what it is and the race is a different story. It is just the first Friday.”

The team has shown good pace in practice so far, and they will certainly be in the running for a strong points haul this weekend relying Raikkonen and Grosjean can continue their good form.

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