Kimi Raikkonen has played down suggestions that his Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa has emerged as the favourite to win Sunday’s Australian grand prix.
The highly rated and paid Finn has joined the Maranello based team in 2007 to replace Michael Schumacher, but Brazilian Massa appeared stronger in the pre-season winter tests.
Kimi stated: “The main thing is that we know ourselves exactly what went on (in testing).
“I’m certain the competition is going to be tough, but I don’t believe there will be any great problems,” Raikkonen, 27, told the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat in Melbourne on Wednesday.
Before departing for the first race, Raikkonen – under the pseudonym James Hunt, a nod to F1’s flamboyant world champion of 1976 – won a 24km snowmobile race in his native Finland.
Some observers have pointed out that Kimi is never a main feature of the test sessions because he saves his ultimate speed for the races.
But world champion Fernando Alonso has clearly been impressed with Massa’s winter form, saying both the Brazilian and Raikkonen have a “fifty per cent chance” of emerging from 2007 as Ferrari’s “number one”.
Raikkonen said: “Massa has always been quick, and he certainly did not make a bad fist of fighting against Schumacher last season.”