McLaren Fear Alonso will be Hard to Beat

McLaren fear that Kimi Raikkonen could end up winning more races than Renault's Fernando Alonso yet still lose out in this year's Formula One title battle

McLaren Fear Alonso will be Hard to Beat

Even though the Finn ran away with Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix, he clawed back just two points from Alonso who happily settled for second place before his home crowd after winning the last three races in a row.

With 14 races remaining anything can happen but the 23-year-old leader enjoys a 27-point advantage over third placed Raikkonen.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we won a lot more races, maybe more than Alonso, but didn't win the Championship," said McLaren boss Ron Dennis.

"Its really not just about winning races, it's the fact that he (Alonso) picked up points in the other races... he's got to have a few DNFs (non-finishes) to curb his Championship a bit."

Alonso is the only driver to have scored in every round and his Renault has been going like a train, even winning two races with the same engine.

Toyota's Italian Jarno Trulli collected his third top three finish in five races on Sunday and is second in the standings with 26 points to Alonso's 44.

Consistency will be the key to this season and Alonso is clever enough to know when to bank the points.

"This second place here at home is like a victory for me," he said on Sunday. "It's eight points in the pocket again and that is a fantastic result for me and the team."

Raikkonen does not need reminding of 2003, when he challenged Ferrari's Michael Schumacher right to the last race despite having only one win to the German's six. Ultimately, they were separated by just two points.

The points the Finn lost through being sidelined from the European Grand Prix by an engine failure after leading from pole proved crucial. Raikkonen also led this year's San Marino Grand Prix from pole before he retired with a driveshaft failure.

Schumacher, his hopes of an eighth title receding fast, has a mountain to climb after three early exits and just 10 points on the board. Tyre partner Bridgestone can expect some awkward questions after his two tyre failures on Sunday.

Ferrari cannot now match their 15 wins of last season and have gone six races in a row without victory. The hopes raised by Schumacher's awesome run to second place at Imola have wilted.

As long as Alonso keeps on scoring, having finished on the podium in every Grand Prix so far, he will be hard to rein in. Second place is fine.

There are plenty of other drivers who can be expected to win this season, with Raikkonen's Colombian teammate Juan Pablo Montoya yet to get in on the act and Schumacher unlikely to go the whole season without success.

BAR, when they return from their two race ban, could also become a threat with Jenson Button.

"Alonso has got to have a couple of bad finishes and we've got to have good ones for us to be in contention," said Dennis. "In a straight fight, if you do the mathematics, we'd probably have to win every race if he came second.

"This is going to be a world championship where the non-finishes are going to have a big influence on the outcome."

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Fernando Alonso
Teams McLaren
Author Alan Baldwin
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