Kimi Raikkonen says Lotus would be "stupid" not to believe it is in with a legitimate shot at the Formula 1 World Championship this year.
The Finn is just 10 points adrift of points leader Sebastian Vettel after the first four races of the year, and its car has proved to be a step forward on last year's challenger. Although there is still a widespread view that Red Bull has the out-and-out fastest car, Raikkonen says there is absolutely no reason for Lotus not to set its sights on glory at the end of the campaign.
"It would be stupid to say we are not going to fight for the championship," he explained. "The only reason why we are here is to try to win championships and races. Obviously we want to fight for it, but you only have to have a couple of bad races and you might be out of it completely. We'll try to make the maximum out of every weekend and in the long run that's key to the championship."
Raikkonen said that Lotus was not concerned about any specific element of its package – with qualifying the most notable area it can do better – and was just focusing on trying to improve in all areas.
"We try to improve everything," he said. "If we improve the car, we'll automatically improve our qualifying. It all goes hand in hand. There's no magic where you suddenly do one thing and you're faster in qualifying. If we make the car faster we improve our pace in all conditions.
"You always want to do better. We still have some things that need looking after, and especially in Malaysia [where it rained] we had some issues that could have been better. Right now we've put ourselves in a pretty good position so let's see if we can keep it going and improve."