Reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen has conceded that winning the world championship this year is no longer a realistic goal.
The Ferrari driver finds himself languishing 21 points behind title leaders Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa after a mid-season slump.
With only four races remaining Raikkonen admits that his hopes of defending his world championship are effectively over, but has nontheless vowed to fight to the wire for race victories.
“The situation in the Championship is what it is and it doesn t depend anymore only on my results, but of my competitors results,” said the 28-year-old, who recently had his Ferrari contract extended despite his disappointing season.
“In theory it s not over yet, but I don t have it under control anymore,” he added.
The last time Raikkonen climbed onto the top step of the podium was in Spain in April, and although he rediscovered his form in Spa-Francorchamps earlier this month albeit before dropping his Ferrari into the wall in the dying laps he has generally struggled to match team-mate Massa for pace in 2009.
Raikkonen has of course climbed back from a similarly ominous championship situation last year when he clinched the title at the season finale in Brazil having been over twenty points adrift of Lewis Hamilton half way through the season.
But the Finn reckons he will be hard-pressed to pull off the same feat this year given that he has struggled with the handling of his Ferrari F2008.
“Last year, in the second part of the season, we had a great set up for the car and I was able to win many races,” he said.
“It was much more difficult this year. Especially as far as the tyre temperature is concerned. When the temperature is right, the car is very competitive.”
“We ll give it our best at Singapore, so that we can fight for the win, which still remains the main objective. We have to give it all in these four races and then we ll see thats going to happen.”
“I ve said it many times: victory is the only objective, the essence of motor racing. I m not just here for driving, but I want to win.”