McLaren – European GP – Race

Mon, 8 May 2006, 02:53

Team McLaren Mercedes driver Kimi Raikkonen finished today’s 60-lap European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring in fourth place. Juan Pablo Montoya had to retire from the race on lap 54 following an engine failure. Both drivers were on two-stop strategies with Kimi coming in on laps 23 (7.9 seconds) and 44 (6.8 seconds) and Juan Pablo stopping on laps 27 (9.2 seconds) and 48 (8.3 seconds). Kimi is now third in the Drivers’ Championship with 23 points whilst Juan Pablo is sixth with 15 points. Team McLaren Mercedes is third in the Constructors’ standings with 38 points. The Team now moves directly to Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix next weekend.

“I was able to pass Rubens Barrichello at the start of the race but unfortunately Jenson Button squeezed through at the first corner, then on the fourth lap I overtook him before the chicane. Despite giving my all throughout the race it was not enough to get a podium. The overall performance of the car was not as I would have liked, however we are closer to the lead and there is a definite improvement from the last race. We now have to continue our hard work so that we can perform better at the next grand prix in Barcelona.”

“Not a great afternoon for me really. I didn’t get the best start and lost quite a few places in the scrum at the first corner. After that it seemed that I was always stuck in traffic. This was particularly at points in the race where I really needed clean air to make any inroads if I was to benefit from the heavier fuel load I was carrying compared to my nearest competition. Unfortunately I had an engine failure six laps from the end of the race, which prevented me from scoring the final point.”

“Not an ideal result today, but there is still a long way to go in the Championship. We are very close with Renault and Ferrari, which was demonstrated by Kimi setting the second fastest lap of the race, so there is every opportunity for us to win races. We didn’t manage to close the gap enough, but we were not far off the pace which is encouraging. Juan Pablo had a bad start, significant trouble with traffic and ultimately suffered an engine failure. We will now look towards Barcelona which will be tough as it is back-to-back with this race, but we still intend to improve our competitiveness further.”

“It is unfortunate to miss the podium with fourth place. However, Kimi’s gap throughout the race showed that we were closer to our competitors than at the last race and were doing comparable lap times. Kimi gave his best, but over the course of the race he couldn’t get close enough to Fellipe Massa to overtake him after either of his two pit-stops. Juan Pablo suffered an engine failure six laps from the end of a two-race engine cycle. We took the risk of higher stress in the final phase of the race as we wanted Juan Pablo to finish in the points. The cause of the engine problem will be investigated tonight as the engine will be immediately flown back.”

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