"With us he was a strong rider, so the gap is a bit surprising" - Gerard Lopez.
Apr.23 (GMM) Kimi Raikkonen's last team boss says he is "surprised" the Finn is struggling so much at the wheel of his new F1 car.
The 2007 world champion, who had returned to the sport with the Enstone team after a rallying sabbatical, switched to Ferrari for 2014 following a Lotus pay dispute.
But while Raikkonen was highly competitive at the wheel of his black and gold car, the 34-year-old has struggled notably for pace now that he is back in red.
Asked if Raikkonen's 2014 struggle has surprised him, Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez admitted: "Yes, definitely.
"With us he was a strong rider, so the gap is a bit surprising," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
"But I also know how good Fernando (Alonso) is -- just imagine if he had had a Red Bull to himself for the past few years.
"But we also know how good Kimi is," Lopez continued. "It is a new team for him, and with Kimi a lot depends on what is happening around him.
"With us he was always fully comfortable, even though of course I cannot exactly know why things are not going right for him."