Kimi Raikkonen says he would have “no issues” in helping Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel in his championship challenge once he is no longer in the title fight himself.
Vettel has scored nearly double the points of Raikkonen and leads the championship standings heading into this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The wide gulf between the Ferrari duo in the points table has led to speculation that Raikkonen would have to play a supportive role in Vettel’s title bid - something the Finn is open to once he is no longer in contention for the championship.
“When I don’t have a chance mathematically anymore to fight for the championship, for sure I will help him. I have no issues with that, I never had in the past,” he said in Thursday’s press conference.
“I think it’s just a very easy decision for all of us, at least in our team, and obviously the first thing is to try to make sure that we can be on the top with Ferrari.
“That’s the most important thing. And then obviously if Seb can win, then fine. If I don’t have any chance then that’s how it goes. The first thing is to work for Ferrari, to put them in the best possible position.”
There has been an upturn in Raikkonen’s performance this year with the Finn nearly winning the Monaco Grand Prix before being put on what turned out to be an inferior strategy.
Moreover, the 37-year-old has been beset by bad luck while Vettel has been racking up podium finishes regularly in the other Ferrari. He retired from the opening lap of the Spanish Grand Prix, while a late problem with his car’s brakes in Canada saw him limp home in seventh place.
Asked if he needs a “lucky break” in Baku, Raikkonen said: “No, not really! It’s not something you can count on it.
“I’ve had some not so good luck for quite a few times, but it’s an unfortunate thing to happen, something completely new that we never found out and it’s fixed now.
“Things usually go wrong when it’s the worst time it could happen, but at least we managed to finish the race and at least score some points. Obviously it was far from ideal, but that’s how it goes sometimes.”
by Rachit Thukral