Kimi Raikkonen believes fifth place was the best possible result for him in the Korean Grand Prix.
The Lotus driver, whose team has introduced a Coanda-style exhaust system, was unable to match the pace of the Red Bulls and Ferraris and finished 36 seconds behind race winner Sebastian Vettel.
The result left Raikkonen 48 points behind Vettel in the championship, and the Finn admitted his chances are now very slim. Raikkonen said, however, that he believes Lotus will be able to find more performance once it optimzes the new updates.
"I think this was about where we should have been today," said Raikkonen. "The yellow flags at the start didn't help when we were fighting with Felipe [Massa] but even so we didn't quite have the speed to match the Red Bulls and Ferraris.
"We also lost quite a bit of time behind Lewis [Hamilton] - mainly because the new exhaust system means you lose a little bit of power so it was hard to get past - but with a few more practice sessions I'm sure we'll learn a lot more to be able to improve it. I was pretty much on my own at the end but we had to keep pushing to maintain position and it wasn't so easy.
"The gap to Sebastian [Vettel] in the championship is quite big now so it will be very difficult to catch him, but we'll keep pushing all the way."
Teammate Romain Grosjean finished in seventh position after a pretty much trouble-free race. The Frenchman – under pressure following his first-lap crash in Japan – admitted he was nervous about the start.
"For sure I was a bit nervous starting the race today, but we did a lot of work this week trying to understand a few things and it's certainly helped," he said. "It wasn't the easiest start; there was contact behind me at Turn 3 and I took evasive action but after that it was quite straightforward.
"I struggled on the last set of tires as I had graining straight away meaning the performance was not great during the final stint. Maybe we could have achieved one place better – I think I now know every detail of Force India's car after spending so much time battling with Nico [Hulkenberg] – but I'm happy to make it to the checkered flag after a good, clean race."