Raikkonen Falls Off Title Pace at Monza

McLaren said they would focus on their own performances for the final two races of the Formula One season after title contender Kimi Raikkonen fell further off the pace at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Raikkonen Falls Off Title Pace at Monza

McLaren said they would focus on their own performances for the final two races of the Formula One season after title contender Kimi Raikkonen fell further off the pace at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday.

While Ferrari's Championship leader Michael Schumacher and chief rival Juan Pablo Montoya scooped the top two podium spots, Raikkonen was fourth. The Finn is still third in the Championship battle but the gap between him and his rivals widened - seven points adrift of Schumacher and four away from Williams' Montoya.

"It's more difficult now than it was before but what can we do? We did our best," the 23-year-old said. "It's not finished until the end of the season, you never know what will happen."

McLaren boss Ron Dennis said his team would not be easily distracted for the final races.

"I don't think it's the right thing to get into the issue of whether Montoya or Michael have an incident," he said. "I think we should just focus on our destiny and our target should be Kimi winning the race and then looking at the mathematics afterwards."

Raikkonen, who finished sixth overall in 2002, must raise his game against Schumacher and Montoya at Indianapolis and Suzuka to become the youngest champion in Formula One history after the Finn never really challenged his title rivals and was deprived of a podium finish by Brazilian Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello.

"We did what we could do today but were not quick enough to fight for the podium ... and we knew Monza would be difficult," Raikkonen told reporters after failing to improve on his grid position.

But there were no complaints from Dennis.

"No question he drove very well. I think all of the cars could have been nose to tail but I think overtaking would have been another issue," Dennis said after the last European grand prix of the season.

"We lost a little bit of touch with Barrichello after the first pit stop and unfortunately that really lost us the advantage...It could have been better, it could have been a lot worse," he added.

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