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'Kimi & Rosberg under pressure'

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 16-03-2016 skysports.com
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Nico Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen have to deliver improved results if they are to stay at Mercedes and Ferrari for 2017, according to this week's F1 Report. 

Both Rosberg and Raikkonen are in the final years of their existing contracts with the Silver Arrows and the Scuderia respectively and have been forced to play second fiddle to their team-mates for the last two years.

With Max Verstappen emerging as a potential new superstar in the sport, the pressure on Raikkonen and Rosberg to earn fresh contract extensions through their on-track performances will be intense throughout 2016.

However, Sky F1 pundit Marc Priestley, who worked with the Finn during his time at McLaren, believes Raikkonen could prove a revitalised force in the new season.

"Kimi is under pressure to at least match Sebastian Vettel," said Priestley. "But he's not the type of guy to get fazed by it and l do know that he is comfortable with the car this year after pre-season testing. He's in a far better place personally and excited about the new season."

F1 in 2016: A big year for the F1 transfer market

Rosberg, meanwhile, has been beaten in each of the last three seasons by team-mate Lewis Hamilton and 2016 has been depicted as his final chance to win a Drivers' World Championship.

"He will desperately want to go one better," added Priestley. "He has the best opportunity of his life. He's in the best car but he's also up against probably the best driver on the grid.

"He will have taken heart from the final races of last year but in the background, people were saying that Hamilton had switched off and that will have niggled away at Nico."

The first race of the 2016 F1 season, the Australian GP, is exclusively live on Sky F1. The race in Melbourne starts at 5am on Sunday March 20.

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