Kimi Raikkonen has vowed to do all he can to help Felipe Massa emulate him as Formula One world champion.
Raikkonen hands over his crown at the end of Sunday’s season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix, with Ferrari team-mate Massa or McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton to take the title.
With Massa trailing Hamilton by seven points, the 27-year-old has to finish in the top two as nothing less will do, whilst hoping Hamilton endures another miserable race in Brazil as last year.
Raikkonen, who allowed Massa by in the race in China 10 days ago to guarantee he finished as runner-up to Hamilton, will lend a helping hand again at Interlagos in whatever way he can.
“I gained the best possible result in China considering we couldn’t fight for the win,” remarked Raikkonen in light of Hamilton’s domination of the weekend in Shanghai.
“Once you don’t fight for the title any more, then for me, it does not make a difference if I finish second or third, as long as the points for Ferrari remain the same.
“With the team fighting in both championships, I’ll be glad if I can do something for Felipe so he can win the title, and with Ferrari again constructors’ champions.”
Massa has also criticised those who frowned on Raikkonen’s move to let slip a healthy advantage over his team-mate in Shanghai before ultimately handing over second place.
“I know there have been comments about me overtaking Kimi in the final stages of that race, but they have come from people who don’t really understand how the sport works,” remarked Massa.
“It’s a team sport and both me and Kimi know we have to do what is best for the team.
“Psychologically, a racing driver always wants to finish in front, always wants to win, whether you are playing a friend on a computer game or driving a Formula One car.
“But all drivers have a contract with their team, so you are not racing as an individual.
“When you are fighting for the championship, with only one driver in with a mathematical chance of winning, then all the teams in the pit lane would do the same.
“That is, to put that one driver in a position where he has the best chance of winning. That is part of this sport.”