Kimi Raikkonen has urged Lotus to respond to a difficult race in Singapore to keep the pressure on in the F1 title race as the paddock heads to Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix.
Raikkonen could only manage sixth in Singapore and wasn't in contention for more after losing out in qualifying, admitting afterwards that the race been 'boring' and that his only chance of making up places had been either in the pits or through the mistakes of others.
Despite that, the Finn heads to Suzuka still third in the championship standings but he admits that the Enstone-based team needs to improve if its wants to maintain its challenge.
“We should get some new parts and setting up the car the way I like it to be depends on the weather and on the circuit,” he said. “We know the speed is there in our car, we just have to find the right set-up to maximise it every time. We give it our best shot to be on the podium, but the races are going to get more and more difficult with other teams constantly pushing with new development parts.
“Obviously, we have to make a step forward from Singapore - where we were nowhere - to be fighting for top places. It's impossible to predict how our car will go in the next races. We have to wait until Friday practice to decide how to approach the race.”
The Finn added that his focus continue to be to improve on his championship position although he conceded that winning the title would be a big ask.
“You try to do the best you can,” he said. “This year has been good for the team and we're doing well in the Championship so I'm happy with where we are and think that we have a good chance to improve. Of course the objective is always to try to win races and to bring home as many points as possible.
“I think it's very difficult to say [if Raikkonen could be champion without winning a race]. There are too many things that could happen over the next few races. I guess if you look at it mathematically then yes, I could, but personally I feel you have to win at least one race to make sure you are World Champion. There would have to be some big dramas if I were to take it from Fernando or Sebastian without winning a race, so all I can do is keep moving forward and trying to win. That's all I set out to do anyway, every time I step into the car.”