Two-time champion Mika Hakkinen says Ferrari has a difficult decision to make with regards to Kimi Raikkonen’s future and whether they should extend his contract.
The fellow Finn believes Raikkonen needs to show more consistent success following his first podium of the season in Bahrain, in order to earn his seat for next season.
Meanwhile his team-mate, Sebastian Vettel, has been on the podium in all but one race and even won the Malaysian Grand Prix.
“At this point, it is still difficult to know whether this [retaining Raikkonen] would be the right or wrong decision for Ferrari,” he wrote in his column for Hermes.
“We already know about Kimi’s speed and talent,” he added. “A very experienced driver like him should be showing regularly what we saw in Bahrain.”
Indeed Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene is in no rush to extend the 35-year-old’s contract, believing the pressure of being without a deal will help Raikkonen to show his true form.
“If you ask me now if he deserves the agreement, I say yes,” said the Italian. “But I want to keep him alert. Kimi is at his best when he is a bit worried. This is his kind of psychological approach.”
Hakkinen meanwhile praised fellow countryman Valtteri Bottas – a potential successor should Raikkonen retire again.
“It was great to see how Valtteri, with his driving style, won the fight against Vettel under a lot of pressure,” said Hakkinen.
“This is exactly the type of strong nerves that drivers need to fight for world titles.”