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Raikkonen Vows to Fight On

Kimi Raikkonen was left cursing his misfortune at the Italian Grand Prix, but the Finn has vowed to continue fighting for the title

Renault rival Fernando Alonso could be crowned champion next weekend after finishing second to Juan Pablo Montoya, the Spaniard having stretched his championship lead over Raikkonen, now his sole rival, to 27 points with four races remaining.

After winning the last two races, the Finn knew he had a mountain to climb when an engine failure on Saturday cost him pole position and 10 places on the starting grid. Starting 11th, he clawed his way up to second place behind Montoya before pitting and dropping back to fifth.

With enough fuel on board not to have to make another stop, he was sitting comfortably until having to pit again three laps later for a new rear left tyre. The Finn rejoined in 12th place, his efforts wasted.

Raikkonen still provided the fascination of a race low on incident by reeling off fastest laps and roaring back to fourth place before a spin allowed Toyota's Italian Jarno Trulli back in front.

Trulli's advantage was short-lived, however, Raikkonen passing him to at least limit the damage.

"This was a very disappointing day for me which could have ended much better," said Raikkonen. "Due to an engine change I had to start from 11th, and then a tyre problem caused an additional stop which prevented me from benefiting from our one stop strategy.

"I had one spin when I hit the curbs in the last stage of the race, but that didn't influence the outcome too much. I pushed very hard throughout and the speed of the car, even with a heavy fuel load, was excellent. So it is a pity that the result does not reflect our performance.

"Even though my World Championship chances are not looking so good I will continue to fight."

Team boss Ron Dennis said Raikkonen could have finished in second place, ahead of Alonso.

"It was disappointing as our strategists had calculated that Kimi, without his tyre problem, would have moved up to second place after Fernando Alonso's final pitstop," he said. "All in all we had a great strategy, and Kimi drove an excellent race.

"The mathematics clearly demonstrate that we are still capable of winning both World Championships, but of course it is going to be somewhat challenging. As history shows, we love a challenge."

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