Raikkonen fails to silence rumours

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The Independent Online

Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton were unlucky in Hungary. Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock stole the headlines. And speculation continued to dog champions Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso.

Massa was just three laps from victory when he was undone by engine failure, and Hamilton suffered a puncture which deflated his chances of a third successive grand prix win. Raikkonen and Spain's Alonso are the key to the 2009 driver market and, his third-place finish on Sunday notwithstanding, rumour still suggests that the Finn could quit this year if he wins a second title.

"I never said anything like that," he countered last weekend. "I only said I have a contract until the end of next year and then somebody made up that I will stop at the end of this year or the end of next year. I'm still enjoying Formula One, but there are a lot of other things in life."

Alonso, who many believe has already signed to replace Raikkonen at Ferrari in 2010, but could possibly do so next season, was making similar comments. "I have a contract with Renault for the long term. But, of course, at the end of every season you need to look at what the possibilities are. It is not the time now in the middle of August to think, but for sure in September and October I will have a think and we will decide," he said.

Third and fourth places at the weekend were not what either man expects of their career, having become so used to winning.

"My motivation hasn't disappeared anywhere," Raikkonen insisted, "but of course it's not nice when it's not going so well."

Alonso, talking about his lean spell, admitted: "The feeling is sometimes a little bit of frustration when you see you do a perfect race and you finish sixth or seventh.