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F1 NEWS 

Alonso says title decided off the track

Fernando Alonso believes this year's Formula One world title race ended when stewards decided not to punish McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton for his driving at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Briton Hamilton took pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday and just needs to finish ahead of Alonso and Finn Kimi Raikkonen on Sunday to become the first rookie world champion.

But it might have been very different had stewards investigating a crash behind the safety car in Fuji last weekend punished Hamilton by moving him down the grid for alleged erratic driving.

"I'm not thinking of this championship anymore, it's been decided off the track," Alonso, who trails Hamilton by 12 points with two races left in the season, told Italy's Sky TV before practice.

The allegation that Hamilton's driving had contributed to the collision between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber in Japan was discussed late on Friday at a meeting of the drivers presided over by Formula One race director Charlie Whiting.

"The drivers' briefing has no purpose," Alonso said.

"You go there to hear what Charlie Whiting and the other officials say. Twenty one drivers have an opinion, Charlie and the officials another, and so it's like talking to a wall.

"It's better not to waste time and try to have fun in the car."

The Spaniard did not have much fun in qualifying on Saturday, finishing fourth behind Hamilton and the Ferraris of Raikkonen and Felipe Massa.

"Fourth place is the worst place to start tomorrow in terms of the championship battle," he told reporters.

"I am a little bit pessimistic after the result today and after what happened all weekend. I really think that destiny means it is not my lucky year this time."

Despite that pessimism, the double defending world champion said he could still win Sunday's race if the rain clouds hurtling towards Shanghai ahead of typhoon Krosa get to the circuit in time for the race.

"We expect some rain tomorrow and we know what can happen in wet races, so fingers crossed for tomorrow for some rain and maybe I have a chance," he said.

The 26-year-old, in his first season with McLaren, said he had experienced more ups and downs this year than in any previous season and admitted to being angry at end of qualifying.

"I am always angry when I'm not in a good position and I don't perform as well as I can. That is normal."


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