Kimi Raikkonen says he is hopeful of fighting for a place on the podium this weekend in Bahrain after a strategy gamble backfired in China.
The Lotus driver could only manage 14th place after a long final stint proved to be too long for his tyres in Shanghai, marking the first time this season that the Finn has failed to score.
Raikkonen did however show his speed in qualifying in Shanghai where he posted the fifth quickest time and the former champion said he was going into the Bahrain weekend hopeful of challenging for a place inside the top three.
“A podium should be possible and I think it has been at all the races we've been at so far,” he said. “We don't know exactly how good the car will be until we get there, but we don't expect any problems.
“[Bahrain is] likely to be quite hot and our car didn't like the cold so much when we were in China so maybe the heat will suit us better. The track has a mixture of corners and it's quite fun to race on. There are some opportunities to overtake so let's see what happens.”
Raikkonen added that he had no regrets over the strategy employed in China last weekend, arguing that in the same position again, he was likely to again stick to a two-stop strategy.
“It was good racing but we ran out of tyre performance during the final stint,” he said. “I felt comfortable in the car and I could push well, but we lost out in the end. I was not able to get past Felipe in the middle part of the race, and I wasn't able to keep Sebastian behind me, but there is still good speed in the car.
“It looked the best [strategy] for us and it worked for Romain. If we had the same information again, we'd probably try the same approach. It didn't work, but you don't know these things unless you try them. We will now know better for next time. We were pretty close to finishing on the podium. We didn't. That's racing.”
Team-mate Romain Grosjean heads to Bahrain buoyed by his first finish – and first points – of the season in China and the French driver said he felt Lotus will be strong in Sakhir.
“Whether you enjoy driving at a track depends on the car,” he said. “With a good car you enjoy the track, with a bad car you don't! Bahrain is a good track. It has some big braking which I quite like, some interesting changes of direction like the double-left in the middle of the racetrack… I think the E20 will be nice there. The balance we have is pretty good and I'm sure we can achieve something strong.
“I want to be able to put a proper qualifying and proper race all together. I think the car will be good there. The weather should stay the same throughout the weekend - hopefully! Let's see what we can do.”