Thursday, 7 June 2007

Is Raikkonen out of the title hunt?

Kimi Raikkonen is under serious pressure in North America. Do the maths. Say the Finn fails to win either race and finishes second to current leader Alonso. He will return to Europe some nineteen points adrift. With ten races remaining that would put Alonso in a commanding position; almost at the point where he could win the championship on second place finishes alone.

Raikkonen has been quick to downplay talk that he is out of the championship hunt however.

“The gap is not that big and my position isn’t that miserable, not at all. A couple of good races for us and a couple of bad ones for the competitors and the whole situation will look totally different,” he told his website earlier this week.

But here is the crux of the problem. Continued…

His comments point to the fact that he is fast approaching a point – if he isn’t already there – where he can no longer challenge on merit alone and will be dependent on the outcome of others’ races.

Furthermore, what makes this season particularly interesting and separates it from previous years, is that both drivers from the top two teams are in with a shout of the title and looking very competitive. So when Mclaren have a performance advantage, Raikkonen is faced with a situation where he must take points not just off Alonso, but Hamilton too. And when Ferrari have the advantage, as is expected to be the case at Montreal and Indianapolis, the Finn faces an additional challenge from his team-mate, a problem Michael Schumacher rarely had to worry about.

This is true of the other drivers battling it out at the top of course. But then they don’t have a fifteen point deficit to close.

So how long before Ferrari get behind Massa?

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