Gap to Vettel vindicates No. 2 role for Raikkonen - Salo

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Former Formula 1 driver Mika Salo believes the points gap between Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen vindicates any decision by Ferrari to favour the German.

In Monaco, there was a lot of chatter post-race as to whether the swap of position between the two drivers during the pit-stop phase had been orchestrated by giving Vettel a superior strategy.

Though Ferrari denied such claims, Raikkonen didn't appear convinced as his disappointment was evident on the podium, but fellow Finn Salo, who replaced Michael Schumacher at the Scuderia after he broke his leg in 1999, believes the championship situation would be a good enough reason to justify such a call.

"Vettel has a good chance of winning the world championship," he said. "He's doing a very good job against Hamilton.

"Kimi is already quite a lot of points behind, so basically he's the second driver in everyone's eyes.”

After the four-time world champion's victory in Monte Carlo, he now stands 25 points clear of the Mercedes driver in the standings, a gap that would have only been 18 if he had finished behind Raikkonen.

The difference between the two Ferrari drivers is 62 points and, as Salo continues, given the form Vettel has shown if the Italian team want to claim their first championship since the Constructors' in 2008, it does make more sense for them to put their eggs in his basket.

"Of course Kimi may not believe it until it is mathematically impossible to win the championship, but the team's interest means Kimi is probably the second driver," he added.