Apr.5 (GMM) Kimi Raikkonen has a simple theory as to why his return to Formula One was much smoother than fellow former champion Michael Schumacher's.
After two less competitive seasons in 2010 and 2011, seven time title winner Schumacher, 43, is finally back up to speed this year.
Finn Raikkonen is more than a decade younger than his German rival and he was off the grid for only two years, not three.
At least we are not far away from the top.
But he thinks there is a simpler explanation as to why he has returned immediately to the pace, while Schumacher took more than two full seasons.
"It's just about whether you have a good car or not. It has made life much easier for me," said Raikkonen, who has returned with Lotus.
"The (Lotus) car is good," the 2007 world champion added, referring to his black and gold E20. "Whether it's good enough for victory or not, I don't know.
"At least we are not far away from the top."
Raikkonen insists not much has changed in F1 since he left for a world rallying foray at the end of 2009 -- not even his friendship with Sebastian Vettel.
"He has won two titles since then but it didn't change him," said Raikkonen.
"Sebastian is a great racing driver but he's also a really nice guy," he added.
As for himself, Raikkonen insists he is just the same.
"Maybe people see me as more relaxed, which I think is down to the (Lotus) team," he said.
"It's a different atmosphere to what I've experienced before."