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World's most successful racer lags behind

  |   July 5, 2005 at 7:29 AM
MAGNY-COURS, France, July 5 (UPI) -- Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, nearly invincible last season in his Ferrari, is lagging behind his competitors these days.

On Sunday at the French Grand Prix in Magny-Cours, the German crossed the finish line more than 20 seconds after winner Fernando Alonso (Renault), who at one point nearly lapped him.

Schumacher's Ferrari is regularly outperformed by the stronger and faster Renaults and McLaren-Mercedes. In his fastest rounds in Magny-Cours, Schumacher was still more than one second slower than Finnish McLaren-Mercedes driver Kimi Räikkönen, who rose from position 13 to second place.

Spaniard Alonso and Räikkönen are ranked first and second in this year's Formula One competition. With nine races still to go, everything is possible, even an eighth Schumacher title.

"As long as there is a mathematical chance, we will fight for the title," Schumacher told the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

But experts believe with a Ferrari as weak as seen in recent races, Schumacher hardly has a realistic chance for the championship.

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