Kimi Raikkonen will have just as tougher job to beat Fernando Alonso at Ferrari - that is the claim of now ex-team-mate Felipe Massa.

Now at Williams, Massa has found a fresh start after four years of playing number two to the Spaniard; ultimately it was the Brazilian’s inability to help Alonso in championship charges that lead to his exit, following a few years of poor performances.

However, with most expecting a very close battle between Alonso and his new team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, Massa believes the Finn will also play second fiddle to the two-time champion.

Speaking to Italian media at Jerez last week he said: “He (Alonso) knows what he needs to do to be fast from the beginning,” he is quoted by Speed Week. “He combines talent with brains.

“He really is clever, and that is what you need for rule changes as drastic as these,” added Massa.

The 32-year-old did however give Raikkonen some hope of battling with Alonso.

“Maybe the new Ferrari will be better suited to Kimi’s driving style,” he admitted. “We’ll find out.”

Much of the focus has been whether two great champions like Alonso and Raikkonen, who also have history following championship battles and Alonso’s move to Ferrari replacing the Finn for 2010, can work together.

But team boss Stefano Domenicali was said to be “very pleased” with how the pair worked together last week at Jerez and Alonso has even admitted he has spent some time with Raikkonen in the build-up to this season.

“We had some fun evenings,” he is quoted by Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“There will be a total sharing of data between us, which is what we are used to at Ferrari,” Alonso insisted.

“Every day I had every lap of telemetry from Kimi, and he will also have mine. And what I’m trying here at Jerez, he will try in Bahrain,” he added last week.

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