Teams admit Lotus are big threat in title race
Date published : 30 Jul 2012 - 19:46:54
Formula One teams have admitted Kimi Raikkonen and Lotus should now be considered genuine title contenders following their success in Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.
Finn Raikkonen finished just a second behind race-winner Briton Lewis Hamilton of McLaren while his Lotus team-mate, Frenchman Romain Grosjean, claimed the final podium position.
It was Raikkonen's fifth podium of the year and moved him to fifth place in the drivers' standings, just 48 points behind leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, while the Enstone-based team lie third in the constructor's standings, one point behind McLaren and 54 points from Red Bull.
Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali said he was not surprised by Lotus' pace and believes they could be in a stronger position if they had made the most of their opportunities earlier in the year.
"I was not surprised by Kimi because I have always thought Kimi is a very good driver and a world champion -- which you don't do unless you have something special," he said.
"I think that Lotus didn't collect the points that they were able to collect. They have had a good car since the beginning, so they could have more points.
"They seem to be very gentle on the tyres too, and they will be a very good team in the second half of the season."
Red Bull boss Christian Horner admitted he was concerned about how much of a threat Raikkonen would be in the title race.
He said: "Their car has been quick all year, and they have two good drivers, so Kimi is a factor in the drivers' championship.
"He is only one point behind Lewis [Hamilton], so it would be foolish to underestimate any of our rivals at the moment and there is still a long way to go."
McLaren's sporting director Sam Michael added: "Yeah they are fast, but worrying about them doesn't do anything. You have to make the car faster."