Kimi Raikkonen says a stronger start to next season is vital if he's to challenge

Finn happy with the "good atmosphere" at Lotus

Last Updated: 05/12/12 11:29am

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Kimi Raikkonen is hopeful that he and Lotus can mount a stronger title challenge next season.

The 2007 World Champion, who made his return to Formula 1 this year after two years spent rallying, picked up the team's only victory of the season in Abu Dhabi.

Raikkonen's consistency also enabled him to remain in title contention for the balance of the season. Although the Finn's chances were at best mathematical, he feels that there's more to come provided that Lotus can make a strong start to 2013.

"We scored a lot of points but we know if we had started the year stronger then we would probably still have been in the championship (at the final race)," Raikkonen explained.

"I know the team now so it should be an easier start for us and hopefully we can build it up for next year."

Raikkonen says that he is enjoying working with the Enstone team and that the environment is much more suited to his personality, describing it as "a good atmosphere" with "less politics".

"There are always a lot of people who are involved," the 33-year-old former McLaren and Ferrari driver noted.

"It is team work; everybody tried to do the same thing, to do the best we can and I think it has been a good atmosphere.

"I have always said this team is a bit different from the others I have raced for before. It is all about the racing and less about the politics and it is a good place to be."

The Finn ended the 2012 season in third place in the Drivers' Championship behind Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso and also 111 points ahead of eighth-placed team-mate Romain Grosjean.

Raikkonen claimed top 10 finishes in 19 of the 20 races during the year.

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