Kimi Raikkonen is sure Lotus will be competitive in the United States Grand Prix once the Austin track's grip level improves.
The whole Formula 1 field struggled with the dusty surface of the brand new Circuit of the Americas in Friday practice, but Lotus proved particularly severely affected. Abu Dhabi winner Raikkonen, who was 11th fastest, pointed out that his team invariably has to wait until circuits rubber-in before finding form on grand prix weekends.
"At every race we have been suffering on Friday when it's not very grippy and then once the grip starts to build up, we get quicker," he said. "Probably we don't have enough downforce yet. Let's just hope that we can get faster tomorrow."
Raikkonen had complained over the radio about a lack of grip during the session, but reckoned trying setup changes would be counter-productive if the Lotus was likely to come to life on Saturday as circuit grip increased.
"We know our car and we can keep changing it but 95 per cent of the time we end up in the same place," he said. "We know that it's more the circuit and the tires that are not working well for us. We just have to be patient and wait and I think it will come to us. If we keep changing the car, then we just keep moving the issue."
Asked if he felt Lotus would be competitive by qualifying, Raikkonen replied: "I'm sure if the grip improves on the circuit then our car will start working and we should be OK. We'll do some changes but we know more or less where it works.
"There's not some magic big thing that we can suddenly find and we'll be one second faster. That's not going to happen. It's more the circuit."