Alonso: Raikkonen has been Lucky

Kimi Raikkonen can consider himself lucky despite repeated engine failures, according to Renault's newly-crowned Formula One champion Fernando Alonso

Alonso: Raikkonen has been Lucky

McLaren's Finnish 'Iceman' suffered a blown engine in Japanese Grand Prix practice on Friday, his fourth such failure this year, after doing just eight laps in the first hour-long session.

With engines having to last two successive races, the Finn will collect a 10-place penalty on the starting grid for Sunday's Grand Prix.

Spaniard Alonso said the failure could so easily have happened during the last race in Brazil, where McLaren took their first one-two finish since August 2000 to move two points clear of Renault in the standings.

The Mercedes-powered team can win the constructors' title if they repeat the feat on Sunday and Renault fail to score more than one point. Otherwise the Championship will be decided in Shanghai on Oct. 16.

"McLaren have been very lucky again," Alonso told reporters at Suzuka when asked about his biggest rival's apparent misfortune.

"A few laps more in Brazil and they break the engine there and we have more points. But they can change now and it will be difficult for us to beat them in the race even if they start 11th," added Alonso.

Similar Mishaps

Raikkonen suffered similar engine failures in France, Britain and Italy but still managed to power back through the field to finish on the podium at Magny-Cours and Silverstone.

He has won six times, the same number of victories as Alonso. But despite leading more laps, Raikkonen is 23 points behind the 24-year-old Spaniard, who became Formula One's youngest champion in Brazil.

"I have been saying this all year, but nobody believed me when I said that Kimi has been lucky," said Alonso, himself stung by suggestions that he has benefited from his rival's misfortune.

"I know that it sounds strange but, of the four or five engine problems he has had, they have always been very close to the race.

"It's always been last lap on Saturday morning or first laps on Friday.

"If they had happened during the race before or on the Sunday then he would have had 30 or 40 points less and this would have been a big help for me for the drivers' title and for sure for Renault in the constructors'."

Alonso said he did not expect Raikkonen to be too disadvantaged on Sunday:

"He can easily finish on the podium so this will not help us too much. Maybe on Sunday they will have more problems."

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