Kimi Raikkonen is adamant that securing a podium finish on his fourth race back in F1 is nothing to get excited about, as he believes that the top three was in reach at each of the three preceding events.
The Finn finished a close second to reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel in Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix, with Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean backing him up in third spot, but insists that he had had the pace to trouble the top three in each of the Australian, Malaysian and, particularly, Chinese rounds. His efforts in Melbourne weren't helped by missing the cut in the opening phase of qualifying, but he still came through to take points for seventh on his return from a two-year sojourn in rallying. He then finished fifth in Malaysia and appeared to be on course for a possible podium in Shanghai before a two-stop strategy went awry and he was dumped to 14th in a matter of laps.
"[A podium] could have been in the first three races also, [as we were] not putting ourselves in a bad position and [had] some problems, being a bit smarter than certain teams," he noted, "But we know from the winter that we have a very good car, good baseline package and just have to make the right decisions and put ourselves where the car can be. This weekend it worked, last weekend it didn't. We know that the speed is there, we just need to try to get everything exactly right."
Asked whether Lotus could keep up the momentum for the next races, the Finn was typically reticent, aware perhaps that Barcelona wasn't for three weeks, with a three-day in-season test at Mugello to come first, and knowing all too well that not every development works out as planned.
"We will try," he offered, "It's the same story - I have no idea what's going to happen in the next races, but the team's been pushing hard to try to improve the car, bringing new parts, but of course they haven't been working as well as we hoped. Anyhow, they are bringing new updates every time they can, and we try to keep pushing and stay up there. That's our aim, that's what we're working for and, hopefully, it will happen, but who knows how well we can improve or what the others will do. The team is doing good work and we deserve to be here. Hopefully, we can stay up here in other races also.
"The car cannot be too bad because we finished second and third - we're still not happy in certain areas, but that's a pretty normal thing. You're never really 100 per cent happy with things. You always try to find something new and improved.
"My car was the same the whole weekend - we tried two cars with different floors but, in the end, I don't think there's much difference between them. For sure, it looks like we did the right thing. It's a great thing for the team to finish second and third, so I'm happy for them, but a bit disappointed to not have more, to not be able to challenge more for the win. I'm not winning, but that's life."