Boullier expecting Lotus to bloom

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier has no doubt his drivers will be fighting for victory again next month after suffering a malaise in Malaysia.

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus

Just seven days after starting the new Formula One season on a high with Kimi Raikkonen's superb victory in Australia, the tables turned on Sunday as Lotus found themselves some way off the pace.

From sixth and eighth on the grid, Raikkonen and team-mate Romain Grosjean finished seventh and sixth respectively, 48 and 35 seconds adrift of controversial race winner Sebastian Vettel.

Ahead of the next two races in China and Bahrain on April 14 and 21, which will again be a contrast in conditions with the former cool and the latter hot, Boullier is expecting Lotus to be back at the front.

"On Sunday it was not the best start we've ever made, and then after we lost a lot in the first stint compared to the leaders, especially Mercedes," said Boullier.

"If you then compare the race pace after we were not bad, we were there, so our level of confidence going into the next two races is much, much higher and we're looking forward to racing there.

"Of course, if there are special conditions it is always difficult, but if there are normal racing conditions then we will be back in the fight for the podium, and maybe the win."

Despite Sunday's unexpected result, with the Lotus duo even behind the struggling McLaren of Jenson Button until he retired, Boullier is convinced his team are one of the frontrunners.

Asked as to where hie team figured in the pecking order, Boullier said: "We predicted after winter testing it would be very tight.

"Mainly because of the tyre management you can expect a different race winner every weekend, but definitely we are in the top four - Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes and ourselves are very close."

Red Bull's one-two, with Sebastian Vettel disobeying team orders to finish ahead of Mark Webber, was also something of a surprise given their gripes earlier in the weekend over the Pirelli tyres.

The suggestion surfaced Red Bull were lobbying Pirelli to change the rubber they felt left them at a disadvantage given how quickly they degraded.

Suggested to Boullier Red Bull no longer had any cause for complaint, the Frenchman said: "How can they complain when they've just had a one-two? That would not be very understandable.

"Pirelli has no reason to change their tyre spec. It is the 2013 tyre spec and that is it. I don't think there is any interest or wish from Pirelli to change anything.

"Red Bull won, and they are going to win more. There are worse cars in the top positions with these tyres, so there is no reason why they have to change."



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