|© Glenn Dunbar/LAT Photographic/Lotus
Although Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position at the Chinese Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso reckons it was Kimi Raikkonen who had the best chance to win the race on Sunday.
Raikkonen qualified second, his first front-row start since the 2009 Monaco GP and his best grid spot since he returned to Formula 1, ahead of the Ferrari driver.
Having already won the season-opening Australian GP last month, the Finn has emerged as a title contender this year, particularly with his car’s ability to manage the fast-degrading Pirellis.
“I’m not concerned about Red Bull’s choice (of tyres to start the race) and Mercedes usually has a higher degradation than ours,” Alonso said. “I’m definitely expecting an interesting race in which the biggest threat could come from Raikkonen as the Lotus has shown it manages its tyres well”.
Hamilton echoed his former teammate’s forecast saying that Raikkonen seems to be able to look after the tyres “a little bit better than most people.”
Raikkonen, though, pointed out that there were question marks over Lotus’ performance.
"I don’t know if it’s good enough to fight for a win but at least we put ourselves in a pretty OK position," he said.
"Every day seems to be a bit different, so I don’t know if it’s going to be OK or not. It will be very close and whoever gets things exactly right might make enough of a difference to win,” added the 2007 world champion.