Heikki Kovalainen feels the Lotus team has made significant progress with its cars after both drivers qualified fastest of the new teams for tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix.
Kovalainen and teammate Jarno Trulli qualified their Cosworth-powered machines 19th and 20th for tomorrow's race, with Kovalainen lapping nearly eight tenths clear of the fastest of the Virgin cars, driven by Timo Glock, but 2.3sec slower than Vitaly Petrov's 18th-placed Renault.
Kovalainen said: "I got a good lap out of the car and out of the tires and in general the car feels much better than it did in Bahrain. We have progressed with the setup, and as a team we are really stepping forward. Our aim for tomorrow is to make sure we stay ahead of the other new teams, and finish the race with both cars."
Teammate Trulli endured a difficult session after suffering a problem with the seat in his car.
"I had a problem with the seat which meant it wasn't easy to drive, bouncing around in the car, so it was a difficult qualifying session," he added. "I'm pleased for the team, though, as both cars are ahead of the new teams and we're performing really well.
"It's good to see that we have quite a big gap to the other new teams on this track and we're very satisfied with that – we're confident for tomorrow and we'll do our best to try and finish the race again."