Kimi Raikkonen has told Lotus that they need to make improvements and continue to develop the E21 car if they are to challenge Sebastian Vettel for the 2013 world championship.
The Finnish driver has made a good start to the season, winning one race and claiming two further podiums, but he still feels that the team needs to make improvements, particularly in qualifying.
“To catch the leaders, we have to work twice as hard as they are,” Raikkonen told Autosport.
“It’s no secret that we want more speed from the car in qualifying; it’s so tight up there at the front and we really need to be on the first two rows to fight for victories every time.”
Despite the need to improve, Raikkonen felt that Lotus is well placed to challenge Red Bull at the start of the European season in Barcelona next weekend.
“It’s good to be able to start the European season where we are as this is when you see teams starting to push on with lots of new parts for the cars.
“It’s still early days, but to have scored strong points since the start of the year is obviously better than not having them.”
Lotus appears to be in the running for the title this season, with the aggressive Pirelli tires suiting the E21 car. However, Raikkonen has failed to challenge the frontrunners in qualifying so far this season, and he will be hoping for a change in fortunes if he is to repeat his 2008 victory at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Red Bull Air Race: Yoshi Muroya joins Sato as Japanese champs at Indy
Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.
Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.
Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.
A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.
A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.
Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.