SHANGHAI, Oct 4 (Reuters) Fernando Alonso still believes a miracle could take him past McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton to a third successive Formula One world title.
The 26-year-old world champion trails his British rookie rival by 12 points with a maximum of 20 up for grabs at this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix and the season finale in Brazil two weeks later.
''I believe in miracles for sure,'' the Spaniard told a news conference today. ''Anything can happen.
''Formula One is unpredictable, on many occasions with wet races and so on, and if you say now it is maybe rainy again on Sunday, anything can happen.
''Until mathematically you are out of the chance to win the championship, you don't give up.'' Alonso has had his differences with McLaren this year, particularly since he provided e-mails to the inquiry that resulted in the team losing all their constructors' points and being fined 100 million dollars.
Asked whether he thought Hamilton would be favoured this weekend to help him win the title in Shanghai, Alonso hesitated.
''Difficult question,'' he mused. ''I will not answer.'' Alonso, who has won four races so far this season, said he liked the Shanghai International Circuit.
''I won once and finished second here last year so I always have good memories of this track,'' he said.
''But 12 points behind in the championship with two races to go, it's not the perfect position. We just need to concentrate on doing the best two races we can and have fun.'' Alonso won his two world titles with Renault and team boss Flavio Briatore has made it no secret he would be welcomed back, further fuelling speculation the Spaniard will not see out his contract with McLaren.
''This is not the time to speak about next year,'' Alonso said.
''I'm trying to win the next two races and when the championship is finished, we'll see.'' He admitted, though, that he had experienced more ''difficult moments'' than he expected this year and could not wait for the end of the season.
''I'm looking forward to it a lot, no doubt,'' he said.
REUTERS BJR RN1627