Kimi to impede Alonso crown

If you study the timesheets, you might conclude that the 2005 Belgian grand prix in the east of the country will be a close-run thing.

F1 pacesetter Kimi Raikkonen has struggled for setup and balance all weekend, leaving title rival Fernando Alonso just a few tenths behind him on the grid and McLaren teammate Juan Pablo Montoya on pole.

''This morning I went off,'' the Finn said on Saturday, ''and I didn't want to do it again in qualifying. It looks close but it could turn out to be not as close as that.''

Thus, 25-year-old Raikkonen intimates that he has more fuel on board for the first stint, and – therefore – guys like Fisichella, Alonso and Toyota's Jarno Trulli, a bit less.

Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella, who qualified third but will start 13th after an engine change, agrees that the MP4-20 is still the quickest car. ''I think we are on different strategies,'' the Roman suggests, ''but you never know.''

He added: ''We expected to be much slower than McLaren here, but the car seems alright.''

Their pace may or may not be close, but Raikkonen has a joker up his sleeve in the battle to prevent Alonso from becoming champion on Sunday — pole man and teammate, Montoya. The Colombian said: ''Kimi can still win the championship so if I can help him, I will.''

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