Lotus was quickest on three of the final four days of testing © Sutton Images
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Romain Grosjean admits that Lotus appears to be set for a battle with Mercedes and Ferrari in the Australian Grand Prix.

Lotus has enjoyed an impressive end to its pre-season schedule, topping the timesheets at the end of three of the four days at the final Barcelona test. That all comes despite the team missing the second test with a chassis fault, and Grosjean confirmed in an exclusive interview with ESPNF1 that from what he had been able to observe the team would be battling near the front this year.

"Well it seems to be (a fight with Mercedes and Ferrari), but then maybe Force India is strong as well," Grosjean said. "We don't know about Toro Rosso and it's always tough to know where you are. But last year we finished fifth in the championship, this year we want to finish fourth so we'll have to beat one of the teams that was in front."

When asked if he felt the car could win races, Grosjean was more cautious.

"I think it's too early to say anything. I think Red Bull and McLaren are still ahead of us, they look really strong. But if it can be a podium car then I'll take it."

Grosjean insists that the pressure is off when the first race gets underway in Australia, saying he'll just focus on enjoying the race and the start of his first full season.

"It's going to be cool. I think it's going to be nice, I've been to Australia for the grand prix in 2009 as a third driver and I really like the atmosphere there. I think the track is quite fun as well and I really want to get there and drive the car and I'll wake up on Sunday and think 'Well, enjoy your day. It's the first grand prix for hopefully a long time and enjoy the day, enjoy the grand prix, have fun and make the best you can'."

Chris Medland is assistant editor at ESPNF1

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    Chris Medland is assistant editor at ESPNF1 Chris Medland, who in his youth even found the Pacific GPs entertaining, talked his way in to work at the British Grand Prix and was somehow retained for three years. He also worked on the BBC's F1 output prior to becoming assistant editor ahead of the 2011 season