Vettel happy if Raikkonen stays image

May 8 (GMM/ Sebastian Vettel says he would be happy if Kimi Raikkonen remains his teammate beyond 2015.

Williams’ Valtteri Bottas on Thursday did not deny that he might be driving for a different team in 2016, amid rumours the young Finn’s future is Ferrari-red.

The existing Maranello duo of Vettel and personal friend Raikkonen, however, currently has the backing of their boss Maurizio Arrivabene, even though he is refusing to lock it in for 2016 just yet.

“If I am going to say yes (to Raikkonen), I don’t want the driver to fall asleep. I want to keep him awake,” Arrivabene said three weeks ago in Bahrain.

German Vettel said he would be happy if Raikkonen stays.

“My contract lasts longer than his,” the German is quoted by Italy’s Autosprint, “but if he does continue with us next year it would be a good thing.

“We work well together and I think the team knows it,” Vettel added.

For the moment, the more pressing issue for the Ferrari duo is making up ground to F1 pacesetter Mercedes.

Mercedes’ team chairman Niki Lauda said this week that, heading into Barcelona, there is now nothing separating the silver and red competitors.

“Lauda said so? I think Niki says many things,” Vettel smiled in Barcelona.

Ferrari’s upgrade package for Spain is arguably bigger than Mercedes’, but Raikkonen also takes issue with claims the pair are now level-pegging.

“We know that they (Mercedes) have the best engine and chassis, so we are still working hard to reduce the gap,” said the Finn.

“It’s normal that everyone brings new parts to the first race in Europe, so I don’t think the situation is going to change very much this weekend,” he added.