Kimi Raikkonen — the last man to claim a world title for the famous Italian team, back in 2007 — agrees the “Prancing Horse” is looking good ahead of Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.
With four races gone in 2015, Ferrari is second to Mercedes in the constructor standings — and is pushing the world champion hard.
“The feeling inside the team is just great,” Raikkonen told CNN’s The Circuit. “We are trying to get Ferrari in a winning position every weekend.”
The Finn has a new teammate at Maranello this year, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel who joined from Red Bull.
The two drivers have a lot in common: both are new dads and live in Switzerland, where they occasionally face each other on the badminton court.
“We know each other,” Raikkonen explained with typical understatement. “He’s a very normal guy and he’s easy to work with.
“There’s no politics, if there’s something wrong we can say to each other and work it out.”
So far, Vettel has emerged as Ferrari’s No. 1 driver. The German ended the team’s victory drought with a brilliant strategic win at the Malaysian Grand Prix, and was third in Australia and China.
But a revitalized Raikkonen fought back at the last grand prix in Bahrain, finishing second to Mercedes’ race winner Lewis Hamilton as Vettel came home in fifth.
“We are trying to beat each other,” revealed Raikkonen, whose last race win came with Lotus in 2013.
“But it’s a nice friendly fight and it’s great for the team. The whole atmosphere inside the team is great.”
A new broom has been sweeping through Ferrari’s headquarters in the shape of Maurizio Arrivabene.
The Italian was a surprise appointment as team principal in November but his straight talking, not to mention his eye-catching tattoo, have impressed.
“I like how he runs things,” said Raikkonen. “You get the answer from him, it’s either yes or no, there’s nothing in the middle.
“Maurizio is exactly the guy that Ferrari needed. He’s a very hard-working guy and very fair but if something is not correct he will tell you.”
Telling it like it is meant Arrivabene told the media after Raikkonen’s Bahrain podium: “I can officially state that he’s back. He showed what a race animal he is.”
The 58-year-old didn’t pull any punches on his assessment of Vettel’s race, commenting: “Sebastian made a couple of mistakes today … Otherwise we could have had two drivers on the rostrum. But he’s a human being, as we all are.”
Vettel has a three-year contract with Ferrari while Raikkonen’s deal runs out at the end of the 2015 season.
Arrivabene said last month Ferrari would not yet exercise an option to extend the driver’s contract for another year because he wants to keep him motivated.
“Kimi is giving the best when he is a bit in trouble. This is a psychological approach,” he told reporters.
With two-time world champion Hamilton and Williams’ Finnish rising star Valtteri Bottas linked to a future Ferrari drive, Raikkonen was keen to state his case.
When asked if he would like to stay at Ferrari, the 35-year-old replied: “Yes, of course.
“They know very well what I would like to do, and we have a very good understanding but until there is something 100% you don’t know.
“We all know what we want to achieve this year and in the future.”
| Source: cnn.com |