Romain Grosjean says it is not too lofty to anticipate a possible top five challenge for Lotus in the Canadian Grand Prix after a rapid start to the weekend.

The Frenchman - a podium winner in Canada with the team in 2012 - was quick out of the box in FP1, turning in the third fastest time, before confirming his pace with the seventh best lap in the weather-hampered FP2 session.

With Lotus emerging from Friday running as the 'third' team behind Mercedes and Ferrari, hopes are high that it could potentially translate that into a row three challenge ahead of Williams and Red Bull come qualifying.

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"It was quite surprising to be P3 this morning but the afternoon confirmed we are looking in good shape with P7, the car feels great," he said. "Monaco was already a step forward because it was not a track where we were expecting to be as good as we were, but here is more in our direction

"I think realistically we can try to give some hard time to the Williams, if not beat them. I'm sure there will be 4 cars quicker than us, but if we do manage to be close to the Williams or fight them, then it will be very good."

Reflecting on why the Lotus is enjoying a strong start in Canada, Grosjean played down the effect of the Mercedes power unit, insisting the more stable chassis is making a big difference.

"When you are in a straight line and you are flat out it is fairly easy! We know Mercedes is doing very good work and the engineers are working, but the biggest difference from last year is when you turn right, it actually goes right!"