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F1 NEWS 

Form says title fight will go down to the wire

Mika Hakkinen will take the Formula 1 World Championship fight down to the final race of the season in Malaysia, according to the recent Suzuka race form of the Finn and his title rival Michael Schumacher.

Reigning two-time World Champion Hakkinen trails Schumacher by eight points after the Ferrari ace won Sunday's United States Grand Prix and he retired his McLaren-Mercedes after a fiery engine failure. But even though the 10 points for victory at the Japanese Grand Prix on October 8th would guarantee Schumacher a third world title with a race to spare, Hakkinen's recent Suzuka form says he will still be in with a chance of a third consecutive title at the season finale in Malaysia.

Schumacher has won two Japanese Grands Prix (in 1995 and 1997) and finished second three times, including last year, but Hakkinen has won the last two races at Suzuka and has not posted a non-finish at the track since 1992. Despite his Indy DNF, he remains upbeat on his title chances.

"We have two races and it is not over yet," he said. "It is going to be a fight to the end. The eight point gap is nothing. Anything can still happen, just as we have seen already this season, so I'm not giving up."

SUZUKA PERMUTATIONS

Hakkinen wins, Schumacher second Schumacher needs to finish second in Malaysia to guarantee the title, regardless of how Hakkinen finishes.

Hakkinen wins, Schumacher third Hakkinen takes title if he wins in Malaysia, regardless of where Schumacher finishes. Hakkinen must out-score Schumacher by three points to guarantee the title.

Hakkinen wins, Schumacher fourth - Hakkinen must out-score Schumacher by two points to guarantee the title.

Hakkinen wins, Schumacher fifth - Hakkinen must simply out-score Schumacher in Malaysia to take his title hat-trick.

Hakkinen wins, Schumacher sixth - Hakkinen will take the title if Schumacher does not out-score him in Malaysia.

Hakkinen wins, Schumacher DNFs - Hakkinen will be champion if he finishes the Malaysian GP within one point of Schumacher e.g. Hakkinen sixth, Schumacher fifth.

Schumacher wins - Schumacher is champion, regardless of what happens in Malaysia.

Schumacher is second - Hakkinen must win to take the fight to Malaysia.

N.B. In the event of Hakkinen and Schumacher finishing the season equal on points, Schumacher will take the title based on number of wins.

To see the Grand Prix career statistics of Mika Hakkinen, Michael Schumacher or any Formula 1 driver, click here.

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