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Raikkonen refusing to get carried away by Australian pace 19 Mar 2013

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus celebrates his victory with the Lotus F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 17 March 2013 Race winner Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E21.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 17 March 2013 James Allison (GBR) Lotus F1 Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Race winner Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 celebrates in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 17 March 2013 Race winner Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E21 crosses the line and takes the chequered flag.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 17 March 2013 Race winner Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 celebrates on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 17 March 2013

In a season in which tyre management is expected to play a crucial role, Kimi Raikkonen and Lotus stole a march on the opposition with a faultless two-stop race in Australia.

But whilst the emphatic nature of the Finn's victory has led many to label him as championship favourite, the 33-year-old is resolutely refusing to get carried away.

“It feels good but it’s only after one race,” said Raikkonen. “It doesn’t really change our aim and how we approach this year.

“Definitely, we are happy with the win but there is an awful lot to still to do to win the championship. We seemed to have a good car in Albert Park, so hopefully it works well in the next races also.”

“Of course I’m happy that we didn’t really have to go full speed all the time so it’s kind of a good sign, a good race for us, but as I said, it might be a completely different story in Malaysia, so there’s nothing to jump up and be so extra happy about. It’s a long season and in the end we want to be on the top for all the races and it’s going to be a hard season for that.”

Conditions in Australia were unusually cold and damp, but conditions for round two of the championship in Malaysia are expected to be hot and humid. The Sepang circuit is also considerably different to the Albert Park track, with numerous high-speed corners that will place different demands on both car and tyres. Therefore, as Lotus’s technical director James Allison explained, it’s not a forgone conclusion that the team will perform as strongly in Malaysia.

“Kimi was full of praise for his car on Sunday night and both drivers showed decent pace at various points in the weekend, but I think if you look at Romain’s (Grosjean) post-race comments it shows how marginal these things can be,” he said.

“Getting the set up just so and having both driver and car working in harmony is far from a given, so there’s no room for complacency at all.”

Raikkonen thinks that the biggest challenge facing Lotus in the wake of victory in Australia is keeping up with the development rate of their rivals.

“There was a big question mark last year over whether our team could keep up with the development of the bigger teams and I don’t think we did a bad job,” said the Finn.

“Of course it’s not going to be easy for us. I’m sure we have the people and all the tools to make it happen. Budget is always a factor and it’s no secret that we don’t have the same money as Ferrari, Red Bull or Mercedes.

“If we did have more sponsors I’m sure we’d have a better chance in the battle against those teams. It’s a long season. If you do things right it will go nicely but one thing can change the whole year. You do a few things a little bit wrong it can turn around and go downhill after that.

“So we just have to do our normal things, like we did last year and put the good effort into new parts and if we’re happy we keep them and if not we have to look more closely. But like I said, so far it has been good, so there is no reason why we can’t keep it up.”

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