ok, let me take my 'kimi fanboy' glasses off and assess the situation,
firstly, no matter how one justifies, Felipe is past his 'best before' date 2 years ago. he had to go.
secondly, the race between 2nd ferrari seat is between Kimi and Hulkenberg. Paul IMO never was an option, they already have one Egocentric driver, they don't need an Egomaniac.
the way ferrari is approaching the situation IMO is like this
1. Nico Hulkenberg : possibly the best young talent without a seat next year. i rate him 'very very very' highly, above perez, Kamui and Paul. infact after kubica, i thought renault (back then) would go for him, before kimi came, also last year, my opinion was Nico would do a heck of a lot better job than Romain .
he is young, good qualifier, good racer and has certain determination that we see in Vettel and schumi of the past. he's a no brainer for 2nd Ferrari seat from the outside.
however, he's yet to prove himself in a bigger team, weather he'll be able to hold on to his own against a force like Alonso?? he didn't do himself good by crashing out of Brazil 2012. can he play the long term development and dedication game like Schumi/alonso??? will he be able to 'concede' to team orders if the time comes for the greater good of the team??? all this factors are unknown. also bear in mind his constant changing of teams. he didn't work for any team long enough to show any continuity. i believe all this factors weighed against him getting a good drive. he's good, everybody knows he's good, but not many are certain just 'how good' he really is.
2. Kimi Raikkonen : his form and continuity after his return to the sport has overshadowed all his past deed. no one talks about his motivation, commitment, expertise. i'd be naive to contribute all his success on the car and not his ability to consistently scoring points and his clean race craft.
now like it or not, he's the last wDC for Ferrari. what happened in 2008 and 2009, we don't really know, do we??? we can bitch and moan all we like, but does he or Ferrari really care??? Ferrari knows his qualities, his strengths and weaknesses, and after his lotusF1 stint, they surely have got some idea on how to manage him and extract the max out of him. as DC pointed out in a video that Kimi isn't a team player, he doesn't have many strengths like drivers like Webber or button has (i.e rally the team behind), he only gas one strength and that's - HE's FAST. that's it. and he's very good at it, as we saw it in the last race.
now. had alonso not made the fuss and made certain fraction within the team uneasy (they are Italians, they have diff mindset than most Europeans), then Nico Hulkenberg would've been the perfect choice, even most sane minded kimi fan will admit it. i want to see young driver's get their chances, on merit, not on money. here's what Gary Anderson said on that matter
He is quick. Give him an opportunity and he will take it with open arms. Drop him in a position in a race where he shouldn't be and he'll stay there - like he did on Sunday; like he did in Brazil last year in the Force India.
I just think Hulkenberg is a great talent. He is the future, whereas Kimi Raikkonen is good for today but maybe not tomorrow.
however, kimi is a Proven WDC material, no one driving a F1 car ATM (other than FA and SV) can even comes close to his consistency. since 2010, Ferrari is due a championship, either WCC or WDC. they needed to replace massa in 2011 and go for Hulkenberg/Webber/Button/Sutil then. no.1/no.2 system used to work when the points were given to 8 places and the gaps were huge for the podium finishes, it's not anymore. if any team has 2 strong finishers (i.e redbull) they'll more often than not occupy top steps and help each other by controlling the points tally. this notion of 'taking point off of each other is pure Bollocks'.
in kimi they have a good benchmark, it'll keep Alonso Straight, he won't make fuss and drive his own race. in that regard, alonso or LDM has nothing to complain about kimi.
first of all, i think kimi to ferrari is a done deal, the amount of info leaking in since august makes it even more inevitable. but in the unlikely case they do opt for Hulkenberg and not kimi, then being an unbiased observer, i'd say it's not a bad choice at all. it'll make sense. kimi will go back to LotusF1. the only catch here is, will hulkenberg play the massa role??? hulk is a heck of a lot better qualifier than massa. he's good with race craft and who knows, may cause further disruption within the team. people forget what happened when Senna came to Mclaren, or history between lewis and alonso. in F1, you just never know.
that said, ferrari will make a mistake if for some reason Alonso does decide to jump ship (it's in his past, he can't erase it) in 2015. kimi is good for another 3 years and possible 4. he is hungry, his trip to the wilderness of WRC has shown him what he's good at. he wants a winning car and Ferrari can give it to him. it's a win win for both ferrari and kImi. kimi doesn't give a shit about LDM or Alonso's mind game. he wants to race and then go home. ferrari will look stupid (like RBR i must say) if they let this opportunity slip by.