Kimi Raikkonen insists Ferrari’s optimism for 2016 has not lessened despite reliability problems in each of the opening two races of the season.

Sebastian Vettel’s power unit failure on the formation lap at the Bahrain Grand Prix followed Raikkonen’s own retirement in Australia. While reliability has been a problem, the Finn says the two podium finishes close to Mercedes highlight the potential within the car.

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“We’re still positive about what the team has built over winter, that hasn’t changed at all,” Raikkonen said. “Obviously it hasn’t been ideal, the first two races, for us as a team. We had two podiums but two not scored, not finished. That’s not what we want.

“Obviously there is quite a bit of work to be done on that side – but the speed is there. Not in qualifying exactly – if you take the last qualifying in the last race. Until that it was pretty OK.

“I think we have a good package, we just have to improve it and make it even better but, the car has improved in all areas: it’s not just one thing that has improved over the winter. It’s a brand new car again: engine has improved, the car itself.”

With Ferrari showing a clear step forward in 2015 after managerial changes, Raikkonen says this year has seen a continuation of that progress.

“It’s the teamwork that has brought us a better package. Still not as good as we want to be, not the best that we wanted to be – but this is definitely a good car and we go from there.

“If there is something I would prefer more, we prefer it when we have a better car and a faster car so that’s good and obviously some handling things we weren’t happy with last year we tried to improve – and have improved. But there’s always things to improve and do things better.”

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