Raikkonen: Vettel ‘friendly fight’ a boost for Ferrari

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Kimi Raikkonen is enjoying his “nice friendly fight” with new Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel, as he thinks it helps the Maranello-based squad keep championship leaders Mercedes on its toes.

The Finn was joined by the former Red Bull protégé over the winter while Ferrari underwent a massive overhaul in key senior positions in a bid to shake off its winless 2014 campaign.

The Italian squad did not have to wait long before harvesting significant results as Vettel finished on the podium in Melbourne’s season opener and topped it with a resounding win at Sepang two weeks later.

A third consecutive podium finish meant the four-time world champion was able to quietly establish himself as Ferrari’s new team leader. Meanwhile, Raikkonen had shown flashes of brilliance but failed to put everything together over an entire race weekend.

The 2007 world champion – the last driver to win a title for Ferrari – then bounced back in fine style at last month’s Bahrain Grand Prix where he outraced his team-mate and came very close to pipping Lewis Hamilton for the win.

Raikkonen is currently fourth in the Drivers’ standings and 23 points adrift of third-placed Vettel while Ferrari holds second position behind Mercedes in the Constructors’ race.

“We are trying to beat each other”, the 35-year-old Finn told CNN’s The Circuit. “But it's a nice friendly fight and it's great for the team. The whole atmosphere inside the team is great.”

As one of Vettel’s close friend in the paddock, Raikkonen also reveals he likes the German’s straightforward demeanour and believes their entente certainly boosts Ferrari’s prospects this year.

“We know each other. He's a very normal guy and he's easy to work with. There's no politics, if there's something wrong we can say to each other and work it out.

“The feeling inside the team is just great. We are trying to get Ferrari in a winning position every weekend.”

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