|© AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky
Fernando Alonso now has at least four rivals that could topple him off from the lead of the drivers’ championship this year after Kimi Raikkonen tiptoed into contention after the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Spaniard has a 37-point lead over McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, who is ahead of Raikkonen by a single point, followed by Sebastian Vettel separated by a solitary point from Lotus driver keeping the championship wide open.
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali respects the trio behind Alonso as contenders but is keeping a close watch on Raikkonen, who has inched ahead despite not winning a race this season.
"I always said Kimi step-by-step is a dangerous driver, and he is getting closer and closer,” Domenicali was quoted saying by Autosport.
"Hamilton, with the car he has now, is very, very strong and we have seen in the last few races that anything can happen. So all the drivers that are in the top five/six I think need to be taken very seriously,” he pointed out.
"We need to see race-by-race what is the competitive situation of the car that they are driving. That is the only thing we have to do now," he added.
The constructors’ championship however spelt a different story although the double retirement for Red Bull at Monza has left the battle “open for the four top teams”.
Red Bull is on the top of the table with a gap of 29 points to McLaren, with Ferrari another 17 points adrift and Lotus is 57 points behind the defending champions.
"So it is another motivating factor for all of us, to make sure we are performing as we can and that is what we will do," Domenicali said.