Title rivals predict exciting end to Formula One season


  • Other Sport
  • Tuesday, 26 Aug 2003

BUDAPEST: Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya predicted an exciting end to the Formula One season here on Sunday after putting five-time champion Michael Schumacher under further pressure. 

McLaren's Raikkonen finished second in the Hungarian Grand Prix to move to within two points of Ferrari driver Schumacher, while third place for Williams' Montoya reduced his deficit to one point. 

Schumacher was left disappointed after coming home eighth to leave his rivals predicting an intense battle in the final three races of the season. 

“We are only one point away and we can finish ahead of him in the next race, then we are going to be leading the championship, but we have to wait to see where Kimi ends up and everything,” Montoya said. 

“I think it's going to be a quite exciting end to the season,” added the Colombian, who has now finished on the podium in the last seven races. 

Raikkonen added: “I'm quite happy with second place from seventh (on the grid) and it's better now in the championship of course. 

“Anything can happen in the race and hopefully we can improve the car and be quick in the next race also. 

“You hope to win but that was not possible and second place was the best that we could to today. I am quite happy with that. The championship is pretty close, anything can happen now.” 

Schumacher, chasing a record sixth world title, has now failed to stand on the podium in five races but the German is refusing to press the panic button and will look for solutions in a test at Monza. 

“A lot went wrong today,” Schumacher admitted. 

“Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. As a result, we have to be happy with the one point we got. 

“The championship is now really close and at least I am still leading. Now we have an important test session coming up at Monza, where I am confident we can improve our total package. 

“All we can do now is work hard, with a team which I know is capable of doing exactly that and look forward to the final three races of the year.”  

Montoya, however, was critical of Schumacher's driving tactics after claiming the world champion drove towards him as they battled for position at the second corner on the opening lap. 

Both drivers had lost ground after starting on the dirty side of the track, but Montoya claimed to be shocked by Schumacher's tactics. 

“Michael has been pretty aggressive in racing,” Montoya said.  

“On the first lap I was going round the outside of him in turn two and he just threw his car at me completely. 

“I was a bit shocked by that but if that's the way he's racing, that's the way he's racing. But that doesn't really help him at the moment. 

“He needed to score points today and he took one point.” – AFP  

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