Raikkonen and Finnish countryman Valtteri Bottas had two high-profile collisions recently, and as the 2015 season concludes in Abu Dhabi, the outcome will cement one of them as fourth overall in the drivers’ world championship.
“I grew up watching Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso,” said Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson, “and in my opinion Kimi is faster than Valtteri and will win this ‘Finnish championship’.”
Raikkonen gets the head-start in Abu Dhabi with his third on the grid, but Piero Ferrari – the son of the great Enzo Ferrari – acknowledged in Abu Dhabi that the 36-year-old’s season has not been perfect.
“Kimi has driven well,” he told Ilta Sanomat newspaper, “but there have been problems.
“Overall, Kimi’s season has not been as good as it should have been, so with a new car and new performances next year, let’s hope for better,” Ferrari added.
Even F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone weighed in on the argument, admitting he is “always disappointed if Kimi isn’t winning”.
On the other hand, Bottas is “doing a super job,” the 85-year-old added.
Ferrari has elected to keep Raikkonen for 2016 rather than sign the younger Finn Bottas.
“Compared to last year, this was a good year for Kimi,” said team boss Maurizio Arrivabene, “but it had its ups and downs.
“The fact is that he is doing his job well. That does not mean that he could not have been better, but I expect that he will improve even further.
“I am sure he will because he is a great driver,” the Italian added.