James made a comparison during commentary for qualifying that was totally inappropriate. He related how Schumacher had had a 17 point deficit to Hakkinen at the half-way point of 1998 chamiponship, but by the last races had reduced it to only a few points.
Firstly, one should point out the phenomenal increase in reliability since then, and the fewer races on the calendar, but more imortantly, we should point out that the whole system of scoring changed between then and now. The reason Schumacher could close Mika down was because of the huge difference between the points awarded for first and second, and that they then only went to 6th place. Now, of course, it is so much harder to close down a big gap.
What would the situation be like if we had the old scoring system? Michael would have 67 and Alonso 86. The margin is only two points bigger, but much easier to close down.