Kimi Raikkonen says there is more to come from Lotus on the back of his victory in Abu Dhabi last weekend.
The Finn secured the first win of his F1 comeback at Yas Marina shortly after news broke that he was to remain with Lotus for the 2013 campaign – having impressed at the wheel of the E20 after rejoining the grid after two years away.
The 2007 champion will seek to build on his encouraging results to mount a title challenge next year and he said the win in Abu Dhabi was just the start.
“It took us a while, but we did it,” he said. “All the work by the team came good and we were able to show what we knew all along; we have a car that can compete at the front. And more than that, we can win.
“It's a pretty good way to show that everyone's made the right choice [to stay together next year]. We've shown all season how good we can be, and in Abu Dhabi we showed we can win. There is more to come. I promise.”
While Raikkonen admits that the win was somewhat overdue after six podium finishes earlier in the season, he said the success was a reward for the team not giving up when things didn't go its way.
“We didn't give up,” he said. “We had a period where new developments for the car weren't working exactly as wanted straight away and when you have to test new parts during practice sessions it's very difficult to make progress, but we kept pushing.
“We continued with the exhaust developments we made during practice in Korea and India and the pace was promising all weekend in Abu Dhabi. I was never out of the top ten all weekend and with that in mind I think we had a good idea that we could be competitive if we could just get qualifying right, which has been the big issue all season long. This time though, we got it right.”
Raikkonen will bid to maintain his Abu Dhabi form next weekend in Texas and he said he was looking forward to a return to American shores.
“It will be the third new circuit for me this year and most of all, a brand new place for every team and every driver as well,” he said. “Korea and India were both new to me, but I had seen the previous races on TV. I don't know anything about Austin, just the name Circuit of the Americas.
“I have always liked to go to new places as it adds a bit of additional excitement. I'm particularly looking forward to this one. I like the American atmosphere, it's just a relaxed environment; they know how to have fun and, most of all, they love racing.”