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Home > Sports > News > Reuters > Report

Raikkonen pins title hopes on weather

Alastair Himmer | October 11, 2003 17:49 IST

McLaren driver Kimi Raikkonen conceded on Saturday that his thin hopes of winning the Formula One world championship could depend on the Japanese weather.

The 23-year-old Finn, trailing Michael Schumacher by nine points, needs a minor miracle in the season-ending race at Suzuka to prevent the German clinching a record sixth title.

"We are not in a good position to fight for the championship," said Raikkonen, who will line up eighth on the grid ahead of Schumacher on Sunday after a rain-hit final qualifying session.

"But it is better than it could have been. You never know what could happen tomorrow. The weather could play a big factor."

Raikkonen can become the youngest world champion in Formula One history if he wins and Schumacher, who has won at Suzuka for the last three years, fails to score a point for Ferrari.

It would a huge upset, although Raikkonen will have taken heart after Schumacher qualified in 14th -- the lowest grid position of his Ferrari career.

"Eighth is not ideal but it is okay to try to do something tomorrow," said Raikkonen, who drove team mate David Coulthard's car in final qualifying after skidding into a wall during the morning's free practice.

"The circuit was already becoming wet when we went out (in the qualifying), so our time was the best we could do in those conditions.

"We will see what happens tomorrow when it becomes clear what strategy everybody is on and, more importantly, what the weather will do."

Raikkonen, nicknamed the "Iceman" by McLaren team boss Ron Dennis, won his first race in Malaysia and has finished runner-up six times this season. He has 83 points in the championship standings with Schumacher on 92.

"We will do everything we can to make a good least Michael is not on pole," said Raikkonen.

Formula One 2003 - Complete coverage

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