Fighting Finns Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas appear to have another difference of opinion, this time over the value of finishing fourth in the 2015 F1 drivers' world championship.
The pair have come together on the track in two of the last three races, with Bottas coming off worst in a podium battle clash in Russia and Raikkonen going out early after contact in Mexico, and head to next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale contesting P4 in the overall standings, with Bottas one place and one point ahead of his rival. However, Raikkonen's approach to the showdown is typically downbeat, while Bottas appears a little more up for the fight, even though there will be no quarter given should they square off at Yas Marina
“Fourth better than fifth, but does it really matter?” 13-year veteran – and former champion - Raikkonen shrugged, “I mean, people don't really remember if you finish fourth or fifth in the end. We'll try to do the maximum result and see where we end up but it's not going to change our world if we finish wherever we're going to finish, although obviously we hope for a good weekend there, to enjoy it and try to have a strong race.”
Having helped clinch third place in the constructors' championship for the Williams team, however, Bottas is a little more fired up for the fight as he attempts to match his previous best championship position, which he earned last year with a podium in the Abu Dhabi finale.
“It's going to be close in Abu Dhabi, because whoever finishes in front of the other will get fourth place in the championship,” he noted, “It's going to be an exciting race for sure.”
Clinching the constructors' top three lifts a weight off Bottas' shoulders next week, allowing him to focus entirely on his own battle rather than having to consider Williams' fortunes as well.
“It means a lot, because it's nice to secure the place,” he confirmed, “It's the same as last year, so I'm proud that, with such a small team, we can fight with the big teams.
“That's good, but we all want more. We need to say thank you to people in the race team and at the factory for all the hard work done, but also to Mercedes for their engines. Without them we couldn't do this, but we are a team that wants to win, so we want more.”
Despite that Mercedes power, however, Bottas could not overcome a grid penalty – for a red flag infringement – to claim a podium in Brazil last weekend.
“The pace was not good enough and Ferrari was much quicker than we thought,” he conceded, “It was a shame we couldn't challenge at the front, but they were getting further and further away from us - the start was the best bit of the race for me!”