LONDON: McLaren expect Kimi Raikkonen to adopt fellow Finn Mika Hakkinen's 'Maximum Attack' motto and go flat out to win next week's US Grand Prix.
The 23-year-old may have to if he is to retain any hope of becoming Formula One's youngest champion with only the season-ending Japanese Grand Prix to follow.
Hakkinen's last win was at Indianapolis two years ago, before the retired double champion handed over to Raikkonen, and McLaren boss Ron Dennis believes his protege can also win there on September 28.
“It's a very closely fought battle...it's still doable,” said Dennis after Ferrari's Michael Schumacher won Sunday's Italian Grand Prix and Raikkonen finished fourth.
Schumacher, chasing a record sixth championship, has 82 points with two races remaining. Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya has 79 and Raikkonen 75.
“Of course, the mathematics shows that we are seven points behind,” said Dennis. “If the way we attack the next race is just focused on Kimi winning it, our worst scenario would be that he comes away with a five point deficit.
“I think we should just focus on our own destiny and our target should be for Kimi to win the race and then look at the mathematics afterwards.
“And that's what we'll certainly be doing,” he said.
“This was going to be the weakest of the three races, no question. I think Bridgestone did a good job, definitely stepped forward, but our (Michelin) tyres were good.
“We weren't that far behind the leaders (at Monza) and we weren't that far off the pace so it doesn't need much of a change to make us competitive.”
Raikkonen's teammate David Coulthard retired from the race on Sunday and is now mathematically out of championship contention.
Team orders are banned this season after Ferrari's controversial manipulation of last year's Austrian Grand Prix, but tactics will come to the fore at Indianapolis and the last race at Suzuka.
“We are a team and the drivers will drive as a team,” said Dennis. “If those circumstances exist where it is appropriate for them to help each other, I'm sure they will.
“We are a racing team and you would expect team mates to help each other in these circumstances...I think it's just a question of what time in the year and how it is done.
“I really don't see it becoming a huge issue for the last two grands prix.”
Dennis said the MP4 17D car, which was to have been replaced by an all-new 18 version, was still up to the job and would see out the season after incorporating many developments from the new car.
“We took a pretty big step on the car coming here,” he said at Monza. “But I think we are more likely to be strong at the next race.
“If we can get the job done there, it is still very much open going into Suzuka.” – Reuters