Räikkönen expects qualifying improvement
21 March 2013 – Kimi Räikkönen is confident that Lotus will be able to deliver an improved qualifying performance if weather conditions are clear and dry in Malaysia, with the Finn eager to avoid a repeat of the fourth row grid slot he achieved for the Australian Grand Prix.
With dry weather tyres only coming into play in the final stages of Melbourne's delayed Q3 session, Räikkönen believes there is potential for a much more representative grid order to be formed at Sepang, providing rainfall stays away from the venue.
"I wouldn’t say that the qualifying was a very normal situation with all the weather – it got delayed and all that stuff," Räikkönen explained. "But if it was normal dry conditions I’m pretty sure we are closer.
"We will wait and see when we have a normal qualifying session. Then, I’m sure that we are not a second behind, or 1.4 seconds or whatever it was."
Räikkönen reiterated that Lotus' approach will remain unchanged after his victory, while also shunning off suggestions that rivals are now targeting him specifically.
"There’s no target (on me)," Räikkönen added. "We don’t do anything different this weekend than we did in the previous race or last year.
"If people think that we are leaders, it makes no difference to our work, what we did or what we’re going to do this weekend. We will try to do our best and hopefully we can score some good points."
The Sepang International Circuit, which hosts its 15th Grand Prix this season, was the scene for Räikkönen's maiden Formula 1 victory with McLaren in 2003. He triumphed at the venue for a second time in 2008, during his penultimate year at Ferrari.