Ferrari SF70H

Is Raikkonen already cast in Vettel’s entourage?

After a thrilling first three races, the 2017 picture is beginning to form. A heavyweight title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel – two of the greatest drivers of their generation – seems set to be this year’s pre-eminent storyline.

However, this Mercedes versus Ferrari duel has four key cast members. Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen will both hope to wade in on the title fight, yet on the basis of the first three chapters, are likely to play number two roles in their respective teams.

Both, however, will be determined to avoid becoming supporting players. In this regard, Raikkonen seems to have more work to do than Bottas, after the latter claimed a maiden pole in Bahrain and has already claimed two podium finishes this year.

It could even be argued that for Raikkonen, aspirations of 2017 championship glory are already ebbing away and as a result, his season is about the supporting role he needs to play for teammate Vettel.

Kimi Raikkonen struggles with coat

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Are Ferrari REALLY a match for Mercedes in 2017?

Pre-season testing is always a great way of generating narratives. After all, this is the most unpredictable period of the season, where fans and teams can dare to dream. With the pecking order not yet established and everyone starting from zero, optimism is the prevailing emotion.

2017 testing has certainly given neutrals something to be optimistic about. Ferrari have exploded out of the blocks, proving both reliable and quick in Barcelona. Their pre-season form would suggest that a title tilt for either Sebastian Vettel or Kimi Raikkonen is absolutely possible this season.

However, with Ferrari being the kings of the ‘false dawn,’ and the Mercedes juggernaut historically being rather passive in testing before arriving with a spaceship when it matters in Melbourne, are Ferrari really a match for the champions this season?

Kimi Raikkonen Fiorano

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