UNDER PRESSURE: Ferrari F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen, known for his cool, calm and collected persona, is staring at the team's 'Exit' sign. Image: AFP / Vincent Thian
SILVERSTONE, England – He might be a favourite with fans but Kimi ‘The Iceman’ Raikkonen is feeling the heat at Ferrari despite his icy reputation.
The Finn's former team mate, Felipe Massa, says he needs to chill out…
Raikkonen, famed for his taciturn character and penetrating gaze and with 'Iceman' tattooed on an arm, is facing a storm of speculation about his future at Formula 1's most glamorous team.
KIMI CAN DO A LOT BETTER
"Everybody says 'Iceman'… I tell you, he's not really like that," Massa said on Thursday in England. He partnered the Finn at Ferrari through 2007-09 and was replaced by him in 2014. He now drives for Williams. "He just needs to relax, try to do his best, because he's a big talent and can do a lot better than he is. Everybody knows that."
Massa said he experienced similar pressure at Ferrari when the rumour mill regularly targeted him with talk of his departure from the sport's still most successful team.
Raikkonen, 2007 F1 champion, will be out-of-contract at the end of the 2015 season though Ferrari has an option on him. He crashed on the first lap of the previous GP in Austria 11 days earlier when he lost control of his car.
Although he finished second in Bahrain, that was his first podium visit since he was at Lotus in 2013.
Massa said it could be that Ferrari wanted to replace Raikkonen, voted the most popular driver in a global fan survey, but the situation was also fuelled by the media.
"Ferrari is a big company so every day you are in the media for good or for bad. Sometimes this is not helping the driver or even the team," he said. “You have a lot more pressure there than maybe another team… I felt a lot of pressure in difficult moments.
“You need to relax – that’s what I did and things changed in the better way for me."
Raikkonen, appearing in a separate news conference, said he was trying his best. "The last race was a bit difficult but that's part of the game," he said. "I don't know anything more than you guys. I will, I hope, know at some point what will happen."
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