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Kimi gets 'ten out of ten' from Lotus boss Boullier
3 August 2013
"I'd say it's been a positive start," said Lotus F1 team principal Eric Boullier, taking a look back over the first half of the 2013 F1 world championship season before heading off for his August summer holiday following the Hungarian Grand Prix.
"There have been a lot of high points," he said. "We've taken eight podiums from ten races so far, which is a great achievement for the team and shows that once again we've clearly made a step forwards from the previous year."
Asked for his highlight of the year so far, Boullier didn't hesitate: "Well I think that one is quite obvious. We're here to win, and the victory for Kimi at the opening race in Melbourne was a special moment for the whole team."
And Boullier wasn't done with praising star driver Kimi Raikkonen's efforts in 2013 when asked to give his drivers mid-term marks for their performances to date.
"I would have to give Kimi ten out of ten," he said. "He's done a terrific job right from the beginning of the season and his remarkable run of twenty-seven consecutive points finishes speaks for itself.
"No matter what happens he's always there, as we saw in the final few laps at Monaco," he added. "He is playing a big part in pushing the team forwards, and of course having such a popular character in the seat has its advantages too."
There was more muted praise for the team's second driver Romain Grosjean, with Boullier admitting the French driver had been having a more difficult start to the year coming off the back of a tough season in 2012.
"It maybe took him a little while to settle down and start performing to the best of his ability," agreed Boullier. "With that in mind, it gives me great pleasure to see him learn from those experiences and to really start delivering the kind of results we've always known he is capable of.
"In Germany and Hungary he really put together the complete package over two consecutive weekends, and this should now be his baseline. He knows that if he wants to be winning races and fighting for championships then he must deliver this kind of quality drive at every Grand Prix.
"If he can keep up this level, Romain can be a future contender for titles, I'm sure of it," he added.
While by its own standards the team had stuttered a little in the Monaco, Canadian and British Grand Prix races, Boullier said that the way the team had bounced back in each case had been a "big positive" and kept them in the title hunt moving into the second half of the season.
"We have the capability as a team to bounce back and sustain a challenge against opponents with greater resources at their disposal," he said. "The championship is so close between ourselves, Ferrari and Mercedes at the moment that we really need to be aiming a little higher to make sure our goals are reached.
"I think therefore that to target P2 is a better ambition, and we will be pushing harder than ever to sustain that challenge," he continued. "We have an ambitious group of people at Enstone and a top three placing at the end of the year is much possible, which would be a fantastic achievement for everybody involved.
"We head into the next nine races on a real high," he concluded.
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