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Raikkonen a factor in title chase - Horner

ESPN Staff
August 1, 2012 « Consistency is Mercedes' priority - Brawn | Mercedes predicts three engine suppliers in 2014 »
Kimi Raikkonen is now fifth in the drivers' standings on 116 points © Sutton Images
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Christian Horner believes Kimi Raikkonen is a factor in the championship after the Finn closed in on Red Bull's driver pairing in the standings at the last two races.

Raikkonen has scored three podiums from four races heading into the summer break and is now fifth in the drivers' championship, 48 points behind championship leader Fernando Alonso. With Lotus' form improving over recent races, Horner said he would take the team's championship challenge seriously in the second half of the season.

"They are a factor and their car has been quick all year," he said. "They've got two good drivers and Kimi for sure is a factor in the drivers' championship, I think he's only one point behind Lewis [Hamilton]. As I said from race two, it would be foolish to underestimate any of our rivals at the moment. There's still a long way to go."

After the Hungarian Grand Prix, Webber said Red Bull had been dealing with some "friendly fire" at recent races in reference to a number of small issues on the car. At the Hungaroring on Sunday, Webber experienced a differential issue that resulted in increased tyre wear and a third pit stop, but Horner said consistent points scoring despite car problems would be the key to this year's title.

"With Mark, that's the 52nd race that he's now finished without a mechanical failure and that's one off a record," Horner said. "Of course we've had the odd issue here and there but all teams have them up and down the pit lane and they tend to balance themselves out. This championship will come down to the fourth places and eighth places on the days that you can't win the points that you want to collect. It was a tough race for us but hopefully we've got some good races coming up."

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