The so-called ‘Fire & Ice’ partnership remains on firm ground for now as Fernando Alonso insists he is happy with his new Finnish team-mate.
Many believed the arrival of Kimi Raikkonen would spark a inter-team rivalry similar to that between Alonso and Lewis Hamilton at McLaren, back in 2007, and perhaps even reach the level of the great Ayrton Senna – Alain Prost partnership of the late 80′s – early 90′s.
However, few signs of tension have been noted so far with the Spaniard reiterating his belief that Felipe Massa, his previous team-mate, was equally as strong.
“Sometimes he was even faster than Michael Schumacher when they were together,” he told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
“But my four years were fantastic with Felipe, so I expect nothing other than my coming years with Kimi to be fantastic too.”
So far Raikkonen hasn’t quite produced the kind of form to have Alonso quaking in his boots. After failing to make Q3 in qualifying, as well as crashing out in that second part of Saturday’s wet session, the Finn only finished a promoted seventh after Daniel Ricciardo’s exclusion, compared to Alonso’s fourth.
The double world champion believes, however, Ferrari’s last world champion will produce the goods soon.
“He’s very, very fast, perhaps the fastest of us all, or at least he is considered as such by some,” he said.
“Last year, he battled for the title with a Lotus, an achievement I rate highly because I do not think Lotus are so strong,” Alonso added.
“I have a very strong opponent in the team and I am very happy about that, whether you believe me or not.”
That final point is one a few may take with a pinch of salt given his history, but after a winter which Alonso claims “nothing much happened”, he understands people’s views.
“This has become a routine for me, especially since I’ve been with Ferrari, because it was also said it would be very difficult for me with Felipe,” he ended.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/1a2u3KU