Formula 1

Ferrari driver underestimates future team mate

Alonso was happy with Massa as his teammate (©GettyImages)
Alonso was happy with Massa as his teammate (©GettyImages).

Kimi Raikkonen, who will return to Ferrari next season, is understood to be excited by the prospect of returning to the team with which he won the 2007 world championship.

When the re-signing was announced, Alonso was known to be unhappy about the decision.

He was obviously happy with the dominance that he enjoyed over Felipe Massa, his current team mate. However, Ferrari were concerned by Massa's inconsistency and also wanted someone who could push Alonso to his limit.

Quoted on the BBC, the Spaniard said: “In terms of speed, Felipe is not any slower [than Raikkonen].”

The Telegraph referred to Alonso's words by saying that he was starting "the first of the mind games."

Indeed, given that Alonso has soundly beaten his Brazilian team mate in their four seasons together, the words cannot be construed as anything other than mind games.

Throughout his career, Raikkonen has been regarded as one of the quickest drivers on the grid. Consider his championship winning year at Ferrari, whilst he narrowly won the championship, Massa could only manage fourth place in the same car.

Yes, Massa outperformed Raikkonen in 2008, but as everyone knew, Raikkonen was losing interest in the sport.

Ferrari were well aware of the Finn's growing apathy. Hence the reason that he left the team in 2009, still managing to destroy Massa in his final season; finishing sixth in the championship, whilst Massa finished in 11th.

After taking a two year sabbatical from F1 to pursue a rallying career, Raikkonen returned to the sport in 2011 with Lotus.

To outline his consistency, Raikkonen had put together a points-scoring run of 27 races and had not retired once since making his return. The run was only ended by a brake failure at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Alonso will find himself surprised by Raikkonen's consistent pace, he will need to be driving at his best just to ensure that the Finn does not out-perform him.

Massa has been able to out-qualify Alonso on a number of a occasions this season, it therefore seems quite obvious that Raikkonen will be more than capable of matching the Spaniard's pace.

The Ferrari driver may soon find that he is eating his words. The chastening year that he spent back in 2007 with Lewis Hamilton may soon come back to haunt him. 

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Formula 1

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