Lotus F1 Team has put together impressive showing in back-to-back races and that is enough for Team Principal Eric Boullier to say that his expectations for the team are heightened for the rest of the Formula 1 season.
Lotus scored a double-podium at the German Grand Prix with Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean going P2 and P3 respectively, and the Hungarian Grand Prix provided another double-points finish with Raikkonen finishing P2 again and Grosjean finishing P6. Boullier has said that he now feels that the team is on track to start seeing consistent podiums, especially from Raikkonen, who the Lotus boss feels has a legitimate shot at a driver’s championship this season.
Boullier thinks that the team has now found the pace they had been missing at times throughout the season and that fighting for podium finishes every race is a fully reasonable goal that should help the team stay in the constructor’s championship picture. As for Kimi, Boullier admitted that he may be “dreaming” if he thinks Lotus can out-run Red Bull Racing at every GP as Raikkonen did in Hungary. Still, he feels that the team can give the Iceman the car he needs and put him in position to compete for what would be his second World Championship.
Raikkonen moved to second in the driver’s points following the race in Budapest, jumping over Fernando Alonso who he now leads by one point. Kimi is still 38 points back of current leader Sebastian Vettel, but if Lotus can manage to keep getting Kimi across the finish line ahead of Vettel he may be able to close that gap. In all honesty though, it will take more than beating Seb by one position every race to get Kimi the championship, but Hungary gives the team something to work off of.
Both Raikkonen and Grosjean gave Vettel and his RBR machine fits at the Hungaroring. Grosjean didn’t have any trouble keeping pace with the three-time champion early on, and Vettel never really got close enough to take a real shot at passing Kimi in the closing laps of the race. What gap Vettel was able to close up to the Finn could easily be contributed to the fact that Raikkonen was driving on much older tires than Vettel. Had the two been on rubber that was equally worn I have no doubt that Kimi would have had even less to worry about from Seb than he did.
Lotus seems to be putting it all together at the right time in the season. They have the confidence of two strong finishes to build on going into the mid-season break, their cars are fast, and their drivers are hitting their grooves. If Lotus can nail down their strategy, which has bit them a few times in 2013, then they have a good chance at competing for the constructor’s championship and at having Raikkonen where he needs to be to challenge for the driver’s championship.