Analysis: F1 Title is Alonso's to Lose

Even if Kimi Raikkonen wins every remaining race this season, he may be powerless to prevent Fernando Alonso from winning the Formula One title

Analysis: F1 Title is Alonso's to Lose

Sunday's inaugural Turkish Grand Prix raised the real possibility the McLaren driver could take more victories than his Renault rival yet fail to stop the Spaniard in his bid to inherit Michael Schumacher's crown.

McLaren can finish one-two in the last five races and still 24-year-old Alonso, with a 24-point lead, will be the sport's youngest champion if he finishes third in every one.

Raikkonen won on Sunday for scant reward, with Alonso finishing second. The Finn has five wins so far this year while Alonso has six.

While third overall and mathematically still in the reckoning, Schumacher is 40 points behind Alonso and has no chance after failing to finish Sunday's race.

Renault are also fighting McLaren for the Constructors' Championship and need every point, but team boss Flavio Briatore recognised consistency was the key to success.

"If it's impossible to win, and McLaren were stronger today, we will do the best possible," he said.

"Our reliability was perfect, and although the gaps are a little smaller after today, we are still leading both championships."

Renault have a nine-point lead over McLaren and are confident they can rise to McLaren's challenge as the battle reaches its climax.

"Monza is a better circuit for us and we have a big step in the car and engine when we go to Brazil," said Briatore. "I think we control the situation, more or less."

Missed Chances

Alonso is reaping the rewards of Renault's early season consistency while McLaren have the faster car but have missed endless opportunities.

They did so again at the new Istanbul circuit when Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya kissed goodbye to a certain one-two by spinning on the penultimate lap after being hit by Portuguese back marker Tiago Monteiro.

Neither was blameless but Montoya, lapping much faster than the Jordan, could have afforded to err on the side of caution rather than pushing past.

It has been five years since McLaren last celebrated a one-two finish, in Austria in 2000, but the team's F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh was confident they would do so soon.

"Having won six of the last 10 races, we should be feeling quite good," he said. "It was a strong performance but we should have had a one-two. It was well within our grasp.

"There's no reason why we can't get a one-two in the remaining five races. Renault are doing a good job, we've got to do a better job," he added.

Whitmarsh said the momentum was in McLaren's favour in the Constructors' Championship.

"We are very slowly nibbling away there but not too long ago we were talking about 20 points and we're now down to nine," he said. "We believe that (title) is there for the taking but we haven't given up on the drivers'.

"I think Renault and Alonso are doing a great job but they can trip up over back markers, they can have issues themselves. It only needs something like that and we're right back in the hunt."

That, said Raikkonen, was all he could hope for.

"It would have been nice to have a one-two but what can you do?," he said. "Sometimes it goes on like this.

"But anyhow, two points are two points and they can make a big difference at the end of the season. We did the best we could do and we just need to keep working hard and win more races and see where we end up."

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Author Alan Baldwin
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