It was my first time with this car and, while I did only 16 laps, I had good confidence with it and good confidence with myself. I was happy. It was a good starting point for me and the team. I will try and be even more prepared should I be needed again at short notice.
Testing over the winter was generally good for us. We did have some reliability problems – now fixed - but every time we were on the track we were performing well. We will try to get a good result now in Melbourne.
You never know what can happen, however, because it is the first race. We will only begin to see the reality of things after qualifying and, sometimes, you do need a bit of luck for the first few weekends. We are all hoping luck is on our side. Overall though, I'd say it seems the car is fast, and that is the main thing.
We know we can count on two fantastic drivers – Romain, who is one of the fastest on the grid, and Kimi, who is maybe one of the top-three best drivers' in the world. We will give 100 per cent and we will see soon our true potential. I believe we will make a good start.
Of the other teams, it is a bit early to judge them. What we are sure about is we have a new rival in Mercedes.
They looked really fast in the winter tests and I think we will need to fight with them during this season. We will definitely be fighting again with the other top teams, Red Bull, Ferrari
and McLaren, and hopefully we can win again, like Kimi did in Abu Dhabi at the end of 2012.
That was a great moment. I was not involved with the team at that point but, three days later I was driving for them in the Young Driver Test, which was also in Abu Dhabi. The team was incredibly happy about the race result and they gave me the chance to be fastest on the final day of that test. It was a really great atmosphere and we hope to have this feeling again this year...
In terms of the drivers' title race, aside from Kimi and Romain, it will be the same top drivers in the mix.
We have Fernando Alonso
at Ferrari. He is one of the best drivers' in the world. We have Lewis Hamilton, who is maybe the fastest in the world over one lap, with Mercedes. We have Jenson Button, who is an ex-world champion and still with McLaren, and, of course, we have Sebastian Vettel, three-time world champion with Red Bull. These are the main contenders.
All the drivers' have been busy already in the build-up to the first race and we did a lot of media and press photos on Thursday. Friday, though, is when the real action starts and we can focus a bit more on the track and trying to learn a bit more about the car ahead of qualifying and the race.
Wish us all luck.
Until next time, bye for now...
To keep tabs on the Lotus F1 Team's progress in 2013, simply follow this link: www.lotusf1team.com