Button: Raikkonen quick despite low fuel

By on Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Kimi Raikkonen © Lotus F1 Team

Official testing action for the 2012 season burst into life in Jerez on Tuesday, with every team except Marussia - and nine all-new cars in action for the first time - kicking off their campaigns.

Returning 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen was fastest all day.

"The lap times don't matter today," Lotus' Finn insisted.

"I do have a good feeling, and that was not always the case in my career after the first day of testing," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"But I would rather be P1 at the end of the first race than at the end of the first test day," smiled Raikkonen.

Lotus team boss Eric Boullier, however, is convinced Raikkonen's speed is real - and his motivation intact - after two years away.

"Believe me, he is there."

Lotus technical director James Allison agreed, saying, "You can tell Kimi is a class act."

Like fellow top team Red Bull, the new McLaren also had a low-profile day, with Jenson Button just eighth quickest.

But he didn't accuse Lotus and Raikkonen of showboating.

"Maybe he (Raikkonen) was running heavy," said the 2009 world champion. "We maybe haven't seen eye to eye a lot of the time when we've been racing, but he's a very quick driver, a world champion.

"He's obviously in a very competitive car, and whatever they did today - low fuel or whatever - it was still quick."

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