Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has praised his two drivers Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen as 'the best pair in the world', even if he did admit he hopes the latter's 'double' does not turn up again in 2009.
Whilst Massa came within a whisker of stealing the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship away from McLaren-Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton in a nail-biting final grand prix of the season at Interlagos in Brazil, 2007 title-winner Raikkonen endured an altogether more disappointing campaign, with too many off-colour performances to put together a sustained defence of his crown.
Indeed, so poor was the Finn's form on occasion that rumours even began to circulate the paddock that the 29-year-old may not return next year, to be replaced at the Scuderia
by Renault's fellow former champion Fernando Alonso. Though this will not now happen, di Montezemolo did suggest that he is expecting rather more of Raikkonen in 2009.
“Kimi, was it really you in flesh and bone or was it a friend, a double, who raced for Ferrari in the final grand prix?” the Italian is quoted by F1SA
as having joked during Maranello's end-of-season World Finals event at Mugello.
di Montezemolo also sought to rubbish speculation that given his new world champion status and evident potential, Hamilton could become a target for a future in scarlet in years to come.
“With all respect for Lewis Hamilton, I'm happy with my drivers,” the 61-year-old stressed. “[They are] the best pair in the world.”