Sebastian Vettel believes his Scuderia Ferrari team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen, deserves better results than he has achieved so far this year.
Raikkonen is currently the only driver in the top-four who is yet to win a race, with Vettel ahead after two wins.
But Vettel believes Raikkonen’s performance is greater than that suggested on paper, and that ups and downs are simply part of the course.
“I think he probably didn’t have the races he deserved,” he said. “At the last race obviously the start and the first lap cost him a lot, otherwise I’m sure he would’ve been on the podium.
“I see exactly what happens [from inside the team] and things didn’t go 100 per cent in his direction so far… but I don’t think there’s any doubt inside the paddock that he’s one of the most talented drivers we have. I don’t think anybody else could go to WRC and perform at the level he did, just come back and be right up to the pace again.
“I don’t think there’s anyone who doubts his skills or his talent but, as I said, you need to have a lot of things coming your way. If you look back last year, I had some races where things didn’t come way — it’s up and down but usually throughout the season it sort of equals out.”
The difficulties faced by Valtteri Bottas during the Bahrain Grand Prix resulted in a team-order to allow Lewis Hamilton through, reigniting the debate over number one and number two drivers. Vettel, however, is adamant that there is no such debate at Ferrari.
“I think the way we’ve raced in the last two and a half years, everything is straightforward,” he added.
“Sometimes it was close, sometimes it was too close as well — I remember China last year from my side, that was never ideal — but you try to fight your teammate as well as all the others, but more than anything I think we know and we understand that we’re racing for Ferrari.”