Lotus team boss Eric Boullier concedes that the team didn’t expect to be in a position to win in Australia last weekend.
The car had looked good in testing, but a compromised qualifying session appeared to have cost the Finn any shot at victory in the season opener.
“We weren’t expecting a win,” Boullier told this blog. “We were pretty confident that we could fight for the podium, but to win is great. At least it’s done now, not like last year – when do you win, when do you win? Now we can concentrate on the championship.
“We knew the car was good on tyres, which was the purpose of the design of the car, but from that point we didn’t know what to expect.”
Boullier says that while Kimi’s rise from seventh was impressive, his grid position was not representative, and it would be wrong to draw any conclusions about the car’s merits over one lap.
“We were not in the right position on the grid. We could have qualified higher on the grid definitely, but we did small mistakes in the qualy, not enough track time let’s say to exploit the tyres, but it doesn’t matter because in the end we could recover in the race.
“Last year we could see that we compromised one lap pace, so actually we worked very hard this year to make sure the car is delivering more pace on one lap, while keeping the same strengths.”
He says the team had no worries about being able to complete the long middle stint that in effect won Raikkonen the race.
“No doubts even if we were in the same position last year in China and we had some issues. Now we were quite confident that we could do it, but the second stint of Kimi was the key, and the first one as well, to be able to last long enough on the supersoft. It was long enough and it was fast enough.”