30 August 2015
Kimi: Keeping line-up good for Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen believes that keeping an unchanged line-up for 2016 can only benefit Ferrari in the future.
Kimi Raikkonen has spoken of his working relationship with Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel, insisting that keeping that pairing together into 2016 can only be good for the team.
Raikkonen, despite some early-season speculation that his performances could lead to him being replaced at the end of the campaign, was re-signed ahead of last weekend's Belgian Grand Prix and will form an unchanged second year line-up with Vettel, who joined Ferrari from Red Bull for 2015.
Despite a sometimes stormy relationship with former RBR team-mate Mark Webber, Vettel has formed a solid bond with Raikkonen, whom he knows away from the track, and the Finn acknowledges that that harmony can only help to push Ferrari forward in its pursuit of Mercedes.
“I know him well and we have a very good relationship and it's nice…” the Finn said, “He tells me and I tell him if he does well and I do well, so we have a very good feeling of respect in the team. It's always nice to hear from him.
“We try to beat each other in the races, but we still can be friends as before, so I think that is also very good for us as a team that we can work very closely.”
Vettel is thought to have played a strong role in persuading Ferrari to give Raikkonen another season in scarlet, no doubt favouring their relationship over having to form a new pairing with rumoured targets, the likes of Valtteri Bottas, Romain Grosjean or even the man who replaced him as Red Bull team leader, Daniel Ricciardo.
The German, who has four F1 world titles to add to Raikkonen's 2007 triumph in the most decorated partnership on the grid, realises that the Finn has not had the best of seasons, but says that sceptics need to read the situation behind the results to judge the veteran's real value.
“If you compare the results, he has had a rougher season so far that I have,” Vettel pointed out, “But that is how it goes sometimes. In terms of performance, I think it has been very, very close.
“Most importantly, I get along with him. Nothing has changed since we became team-mates, so I think that is positive, especially for the team not to [have to] worry about [it]. Sometimes, small stupid things become big and a bit of a scene, but I think for him, or myself, we don't really care about these things.”
While Raikkonen will concern himself with holding on to a top five spot in the championship standings at Ferrari's home race next weekend, Vettel is left hoping the Mercedes has a nightmare with both cars in order to haul himself back onto the fringes of the title battle after his blow-out at Spa.
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