That is the view of former F1 driver Mika Salo, speaking after his Finnish countryman Raikkonen’s new contract for 2018 was announced.
“This was the expected news,” Salo, who raced for Ferrari almost 20 years ago, told the Finnish broadcaster MTV.
“Ferrari had no better option. And Kimi would not have continued if he doesn’t believe his pace is still there.”
Many insiders, including Salo, also believe that Raikkonen staying with Ferrari is a precursor to a new contract between Ferrari and the team’s de-facto ‘number 1’ driver Sebastian Vettel.
“There’s not really any other place for Vettel,” Salo said. “And I believe Raikkonen staying was one of Vettel’s demands.
“They are a good pair,” he added.
Salo, 50, also said the fact Raikkonen’s 2018 deal has been agreed quite early is good news for the 37-year-old.
“I hope he is able to be right there from the beginning of the season,” he said. “For some reason, the Ferrari cars have not been great for Kimi from the very start of a season.”