Finns' feud adds spice to Abu Dhabi finale

Valtteri Bottas of Williams and his quiet, near-taciturn compatriot Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari are separated by just a point in the drivers' championship, with the former ahead in fourth place. That means much for Bottas whose recent clashes with his compatriot have ignited his pride and, he says, made him want to hang on to his position at least for the sake of his team.

Kimi Raikkonen is fifth on the drivers' standings, one point behind fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas.   -  Reuters

Valtteri Bottas of Williams.   -  Getty Images

The rest of the world may only be looking on with mild curiosity, but for two feuding Finns this weekend's season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has more meaning than most.

Valtteri Bottas of Williams and his quiet, near-taciturn compatriot Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari are separated by just a point in the drivers' championship, with the former ahead in fourth place.

That means much for Bottas whose recent clashes with his compatriot have ignited his pride and, he says, made him want to hang on to his position at least for the sake of his team.

“I think the main thing would be for us, as a team, to be at least ahead of one quicker car in the championship and with me that would be nice,” said Bottas.

Doesn’t matter if its Kimi or someone else: Bottas

“It doesn't change at all if it's Kimi or someone else I'm fighting with for that position,” he added with the corporate perfection of a professional and a deadpan expression that was at odds with recent feelings between the two men.

“As a driver, I want to get every position that's possible, of course. And with the car we have and with what we are doing as a team I want to get the maximum out of it—and the maximum ranking in the championship.”

De-coded by most F1 paddock observers, this translated into a personal feud that both men prefer to ignore.

Raikkonen, for his part, remained low-key and said that all he cared about was trying to win Sunday's race.

The real feelings of both are not likely to be revealed until after what promises to be a spectacular finale.

Pretty average but better than last year: Raikkonen

Raikkonen had earlier given his customary shrug and admitted he had been “pretty average” in racing for Ferrari this year with four-time champion Sebastian Vettel as a team-mate.

“Pretty average, I must say,” he summed up. “Better than last year, but still far away from what it should be, but that is life... And next year we try again.”

Raikkonen, 131 points adrift of Vettel, added that he felt Ferrari had improved on 2014.

“We improve a lot from last year, but still we are not happy. When I don't finish five races, however many we have done, you don't expect to be very high up.

“We have to improve and I am sure we can still improve it. It's a new challenge, and we will see. I am sure we can do better.”