Dennis rues fuel rig problem for Raikkonen

Dennis rues fuel rig problem for Raikkonen

McLaren boss Ron Dennis has praised young Finn Kimi Raikkonen and thinks he could have been on the podium at the Canadian Grand Prix if it wasn't for fuel rig problems. Dennis compared Raikkonen favourably to double world champion and former...

McLaren boss Ron Dennis has praised young Finn Kimi Raikkonen and thinks he could have been on the podium at the Canadian Grand Prix if it wasn't for fuel rig problems. Dennis compared Raikkonen favourably to double world champion and former McLaren star Mika Hakkinen -- Raikkonen outqualified team mate David Coulthard for the fifth time in Canada and scored his first points for three months after a string of engine and other failures made for a bad start to his season.

"Kimi and Mika are very different characters," he said. "They have different strengths and weaknesses but overall Kimi is as strong as Mika was at his age if not stronger. I wouldn't take anything away from David but I think both would have occupied the podium if Kimi's fuel rig hadn't had problems. Which meant we had to get back a lot of fuel with our tactics, which meant he wasn't able to compete."

Kimi Raikkonen.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
Raikkonen came home fourth after setting his fastest lap of the race, a 1:16.553, and despite the praise, Dennis was slightly less impressed by what he described as 'youthful exuberance': "His last lap was a bit of youthful exuberance but could also cost him a finish because we were trying to conserve fuel. While it's nice to demonstrate just how fast you can go we would have looked a little bit silly if it had run out in the chicane and passed fourth place to the rest of the field. It's all part of the learning process."

"It spoilt Kimi's race," Dennis added in regard to the fuel rig problem. "A splash and go would have relegated him to sixth so it was a question of fuel management rather than a stop. We changed the engine settings to create optimum fuel consumption. Then we changed his lap times too, and that's not good enough, so we had to physically slow him down before we suddenly hit the target fuel consumption."

"You are making him look so bad and that's what gave birth to an extremely quick last lap. But while it made him feel good it would have made him look very silly if it had run out at last chicane and undone all the work we had done."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Kimi Raikkonen , Eric Gilbert
Teams McLaren