Raikkonen seeks better opener than 2012

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A year after he made his comeback to Formula 1, Kimi Raikkonen is optimistic his Australian Grand Prix can go a little better than last year’s. He qualified only 18th and finished seventh on his return to the sport.

Raikkonen, despite relatively limited mileage this winter, appears optimistic given the improvements projected for Lotus’ new E21 chassis.

“You need a car with good traction and the E21 feels better in this area than the E20 which wasn’t a bad car itself,” Raikkonen said. “Strong turn-in and stable braking help too, and those areas also feel good with the car, so we are well placed.”

An area of concern for Raikkonen is the grip level for the Albert Park street circuit in Melbourne. The difference in Pirelli’s 2013 tire compounds plus the fact the track is only used once annually might make it difficult for the tires to come up to temperatures that quickly.

“It’s always difficult to say for the first race of the year,” he said. “It’s not a full time race track so the weekend starts pretty slippery. The weather can be a bit of a surprise sometimes and we’ll also learn how we compare to the other teams.”