Kimi Raikkonen feels Lotus is not far from the optimum following practice on Friday for the 2012 F1 Indian Grand Prix.
Raikkonen finished the first day fifth overall on a 1 minute 27.030 seconds, but while he was pleased with his car on the softer of the two tyres, he admitted it wasn't quite so good with the harder compound.
Indeed while McLaren pair Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were both slower in FP2, the Finn thinks the Enstone-based outfit will probably struggle to stay ahead in qualifying on Saturday.
“The circuit is nice,” Raikkonen said at the end of the day. “For me it was easier to learn than the Korean track; it's not as technical but it's good. It's always nice to come to a new place like this – I've been racing for many years, and you always end up going to the same places so it's good when you get a new place and a new circuit.
“For sure we can still improve on one lap but I think we are not far away from our maximum speed. Of course I hope that we are faster than McLaren. Our car was working well, especially on soft tyres but with the hard tyres it was more difficult to find grip.”
Team-mate Romain Grosjean meanwhile was 15th in FP1 and ninth in FP2, his best lap a 1m 27.387s: “It's been very hard to set-up the car as the track has been evolving a lot through the day; from zero grip in the morning to much better in the afternoon. However, we've made good progress today and we're working on improving further overnight,” he remarked.
“There are a few blind corners, and some quick places where you don't want to make mistakes either. Hopefully we find the car we want for qualifying and get what we want tomorrow.”
Alan Permane, Lotus' trackside operations director, summarised: “We spent the morning session evaluating the new front wing and some new rear diffuser parts; we need to investigate further the diffuser parts but the new front wing looks good so we'll run it with both cars for the remainder of the weekend.
“We were able to conduct an uninterrupted FP2 programme, running both tyres reasonably early on, followed by a long run on the soft compound. We're missing a little pace on the hard tyre so we're investigating our tyre temperatures and pressures, however on the softer tyre our car looks very competitive on both low and high fuel loads.
“It would be nice to squeeze another two or three tenths out of the car in qualifying, but nevertheless we confident of the potential for a good show tomorrow,” Permane summed-up.