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Alonso remains wary of Raikkonen
Alan Baldwin | September 05, 2005 14:40 IST
Even though he could be Formula One's youngest champion within days, Fernando Alonso remains wary of McLaren rival Kimi Raikkonen.
It would take a sensational comeback for the Finn to wrest the title from the Renault driver's grasp, with Alonso 27 points clear and four races remaining, but the Spaniard is taking nothing for granted after Sunday's Italian Grand Prix.
"So it's really difficult. I think Kimi has the potential to win all the races remaining."
McLaren have won the last three, Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya triumphant at Monza after Raikkonen went from misfortune to misfortune and finished fourth, and will head for Spa as favourites.
Raikkonen, who would have started on pole position at Monza had an unscheduled engine change on Saturday not cost him 10 places on the starting grid, won there last year and clearly has the quicker car at the moment.
"The mathematics clearly demonstrate that we are still capable of winning both world championships, but of course it's going to be somewhat challenging," said McLaren boss Ron Dennis.
The constructor's championship, with Renault just eight points clear of McLaren, remains wide open but Alonso, focused on each race as he may be, is kidding nobody by insisting that he does not yet feel the driver's crown is his.
The Spaniard knows he has only to finish fifth in all the remaining races to take the title and will be champion if he scores four points more than Raikkonen at Spa.
On present form, the outcome is clear. Alonso, winner of six races, has finished first or second in four of the last five Grands Prix.
Only three times in 15 races, including the US Grand Prix that none of the Michelin teams started, has he not finished in the top four.
Ferrari's seven times world champion Michael Schumacher, his reign now over after five years, recognised his heir apparent on Sunday.
"You do not need to be very prophetic to say that the championship is over," said the German. "The championship for Kimi is only a very small, theoretical possibility.
"A lot of things need to happen for Alonso not to win the championship. I don't see those things happening so for me this topic is over."
Spa, the Belgian circuit that has always been a true test of a driver's mettle, would be a fitting place for Alonso to take on Schumacher's mantle.
The track is Schumacher's favourite, the place where he won his first Grand Prix in 1992 and where last year he clinched his seventh title, It is also Alonso's.
"I won my first race in [Formula] 3000 there. It's really good and I will finish the championship there if I can," said the Spaniard.
But anywhere will do as long as the title is his.
"Brazil is also a good track to win the championship at and Japan and China as well. It really doesn't matter," he said.
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