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Lotus drivers pleased with practice performance

Mar 22, 2013, 7:00 PM EDT

AUTO-PRIX-MAS-F1-PRACTICE Getty Images

Kimi Raikkonen is pleased with his performance in practice having finished quickest in FP2, underlining the pace of the Lotus E21 ahead of qualifying on Saturday.

“It was a pretty good day,” the Finnish driver said. “We tried changing a few things on the car and made progress with where we wanted to be at the end of the sessions. We had some running in the wet which you often get around here and the car feels fine.”

Raikkonen topped the second session ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa, and he also finished P2 in the first session, less than one-tenth behind Mark Webber. Regardless, the Lotus driver refused to make any predictions for qualifying.

“We ran pretty heavy today so I don’t know how we’ll be when everyone is light for qualifying, but I’m happy with where we are and expect we’ll be reasonable tomorrow.”

Teammate Romain Grosjean has set his sights on bettering his P10 finish in Australia, stating that he is happier with the new aerodynamic configuration of his E21.

“The new front wing does feel better than the one before so that helps. Kimi was running an updated aero package which looks to be an improvement so we know there’s more pace to come in that area.”

Grosjean also hopes that the hot and humid conditions in Malaysia will work in his favor this weekend.

“It was pretty hot out there – quite a contrast to Melbourne – but I felt comfortable and I’m looking forward to making some improvements tomorrow before we head into qualifying.”

Lotus will be keen on building upon Raikkonen’s impressive win in Australia, and if Grosjean can support his teammate throughout the season, the Enstone-based team could be in the running for the constructors’ championship come the end of the year.

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