Autosport Plus

Distant Rivals

The battle for this year's drivers' title has been reduced to two men: Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. However, their on-track rivalry is yet to be sparked, with the Spaniard now cruising for points while the Finn's McLaren keeps breaking down. Richard Barnes analyses the Championship fight that was not to be

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen must really dislike Germany - or, at least, racing in Germany. Prior to Sunday's German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, Raikkonen had made nine F1 career starts in Germany, four at Hockenheim and five at Nurburgring for Germany's 'second' F1 event, the European GP.

In his 2001 debut year for Sauber, the Finn managed tenth position at Nurburgring. A year later at the same circuit, driving for McLaren, he finished a distant third behind the dominant Ferraris of Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher. In each of his other seven starts in Germany, Raikkonen had retired. No surprise, then, that the trend continued with yet another mechanical DNF. During what is arguably the era of greatest F1 reliability ever, Raikkonen has suffered an almost unheard-of 80% DNF rate in Germany.

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