Raikkonen Gloomy about Title Hopes

Kimi Raikkonen has followed Michael Schumacher's example in effectively writing off his Formula One title chances for another year

Raikkonen Gloomy about Title Hopes

The McLaren driver, second overall in the Championship but now 36 points behind Renault's Fernando Alonso with seven races remaining, struck a pessimistic note at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Thursday.

Asked whether he thought about the Championship, the Finn replied: "Not really.

"I don't think so. We are slipping away a little bit too much now. We still have a chance but I think we have to be realistic. It is not (achievable) without any problems to anyone else."

The Finn is four points ahead of Ferrari's seven times champion Schumacher, who said last weekend that he could no longer consider himself in contention.

While Raikkonen has suffered four retirements, Alonso has been a model of consistency with just one lapse when he hit the wall in Canada while leading. In 12 races, the Renault driver has won six and been on the podium nine times.

Raikkonen, Championship runner-up to Schumacher in 2003, could well end the year looking back and wondering what might have been.

McLaren have had the fastest car in Formula One for much of the season and had it not been for his car's lack of reliability, Raikkonen could have been at least on level terms with his 23-year-old Spanish rival.

Empty-Handed

He led the San Marino, European and German Grands Prix before failures left him empty handed.

In Germany last weekend it was a hydraulics problem, reportedly due to a failure to tighten sufficiently a gearbox bleed nipple costing no more than a few dollars.

Raikkonen left Hockenheim without talking to reporters but he was smiling and sounding his normal self again at the Hungaroring.

"It is not the first time, unfortunately, so you get used to it. But it is disappointing obviously. We just need to look forward for this race," he said.

"Sometimes those things happen. It is not nice."

By being the first to retire in Germany, Raikkonen must qualify on a dirtier and slower track than Alonso on Saturday - another advantage to his rival.

"I think this is one of the races where we are going to be penalised quite a lot going first out," he said.

"I think it is quite difficult here because if you don't have a good qualifying it is hard to get past anyone here. We will see what we can do but I think we need to look for a good tactic and see what happens."

 

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