Eric Boullier says there is more to come from the Lotus team after it finally realised the potential shown during pre-season testing in the fourth round of the F1 season in Bahrain.
Kimi Raikkonen stormed through from eleventh on the grid to take second behind Sebastian Vettel, while Romain Grosjean secured a maiden podium place as he followed the Finn home in third place.
The double podium came after a difficult start to the season for the team as it failed to build on the pace shown by the E20 during testing but Boullier said the focus now was on ensuring that Bahrain wasn't a one-off.
“It's so frustrating when you see the whole team back at Enstone putting in such a huge amount of effort over the winter, especially after a difficult season last year, and you don't get the results you know you are capable of,” he said. “It's more than relief [now], it's a sense of pride because no matter how confident you are in what you've created, it's never proven until you get results. Thankfully we've achieved that, and it's a real credit to everyone involved.
“I think we had the speed all weekend, but the grid is so tight this year that even a few thousandths of a second can make a big difference, and one slight mistake can be very costly. While qualifying was not perfect, everything in the race was very good; the car itself obviously, the pit stops, which the crew had put hours of work into making more competitive, our strategy, which may have looked like a risk on the surface but which played out just as we'd hoped, and of course the drivers who drove flawlessly. It was a fantastic all-round performance, and there's more to come, I'm sure.”
Boullier added that the result showed that Lotus had made the right call on drivers for the new season, with Raikkonen and Grosjean both repaying the faith shown in them.
“Both drivers did a very, very good job out there and it's especially satisfying to have two cars not only on the podium, but also so evenly matched in terms of pace,” he said. “Kimi has obviously been competing in a totally different category, and Romain had a difficult experience with us back in 2009; seeing how quickly they've got to grips with the car shows what a strong line-up we have in them.”