Heartbreak for Hamilton as Raikkonen wins in China

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Shanghai, Oct 7:  Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen turned the Formula One title battle into a three-way fight to the last race in Brazil today with victory in China after championship leader Lewis Hamilton skidded out.

Hamilton's double world champion team mate and closest title rival Fernando Alonso finished second with Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa third.

On an afternoon of delight for Ferrari and heartbreak for Hamilton, who had hoped to become Formula One's first rookie champion with one race to spare, the Briton's overall lead was trimmed to four points over a delighted Alonso.

''I'm disappointed for the team, the battle goes on to Brazil,'' said Hamilton, besieged by reporters on his return to the paddock.

Raikkonen, whose cause had looked desperate only a day before, has emerged as a real threat to McLaren's hopes of a first title since Mika Hakkinen in 1999 after clinching Ferrari's 200th grand prix win.

Hamilton has 107 points, Spaniard Alonso 103 and Finland's Raikkonen 100.

It will be the first time since 1986 that three drivers have remained in contention to the last.

''We're back in the championship and it'll be interesting in the last race,'' said Raikkonen.

Hamilton had led Raikkonen from pole position while Alonso lagged in fourth place after trying and failing to pass Massa for third at the start.

Neither of the leaders changed their wet tyres at the first pitstops, despite the tread being almost worn smooth, and Hamilton was already struggling to control his car before he tried to make his second stop.

Toro Rosso's German Sebastian Vettel finished fourth, with Briton Jenson Button fifth for Honda.

Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi was sixth for Toro Rosso, with Nick Heidfeld seventh for BMW Sauber and David Coulthard taking the final point for Red Bull.

Reuters>

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