Kimi Raikkonen confident of more success at Lotus


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The Independent Online

Kimi Raikkonen is confident he will not be a one-win wonder at Lotus.

Just a week after team principal Eric Boullier told fans they would have to wait until next season to see the team on top of the podium, Raikkonen went and proved his boss wrong with victory in Abu Dhabi.

Although he inherited the lead following yet more misfortune and unreliability problems with Lewis Hamilton's McLaren, the Finn's success finally silenced those who doubted whether Lotus had what it takes to win.

But was the triumph at the Yas Marina circuit the monkey off the back and the catalyst for more, or was it simply luck and likely to be another 18 races before Lotus enjoys another?

"It took us a while, but we did it," said Raikkonen, who only signed a new deal with Lotus for 2013 a few days before taking the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi.

"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.

"We've shown all season how good we can be. There is more to come - I promise."

Given the regulations remain stable for next year, Lotus naturally have to believe they can be a frontrunner in 2013.

Boullier said: "We're a team on the up.

"This is certainly appealing from a commercial point of view and the numbers of partners joining us this year is proof of that.

"On the other hand we know how much harder we need to push in developing our resources and the company to ensure we can break into the top three next year."

Raikkonen at least heads into this weekend's United States Grand Prix on a level playing field again with those around him.

After a two-year break, the circuits in India and Abu Dhabi were new to the Finn, but with Austin's Circuit of The Americas it is unknown to all.

Raikkonen, though, is the last F1 driver to compete in the US having taken part in NASCAR, an experience he concedes revived his interest in returning to F1.

"I did two races on the Charlotte oval last year and I really liked it a lot," added Raikkonen.

"That was probably the experience I needed to open my eyes for racing again.

"After that I really wanted to come back to Formula One, while it was a tempting idea to do more NASCAR.

"After seeing the excitement of the American NASCAR fans I hope Formula One gets people as eager to enjoy our racing in Texas."