Raikkonen: I could have won
|Sunday, October 1st 2006, 09:32 GMT|
McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen believes he could have won the Chinese Grand Prix had he not retired with a mechanical problem.
The Finn, still seeking his first win of the season before moving to Ferrari next year, was running a strong second when he suffered throttle problems on lap 19.
It was Raikkonen's third retirement in four races.
"That was a shame as it was looking like we could achieved a win today," said Raikkonen. "I don't know exactly what happened, but all of a sudden the throttle didn't react correctly and the engine went into safety mode and selected neutral.
"I made a good start and then got on the outside and gained a couple of places - it was a bit tight, so I didn't manage to get past Fisichella at that point. I overtook him later on and was gaining on Alonso before my first scheduled pitstop. I'm disappointed, but at least we showed that we have the speed, so I'm looking forward to Japan now."
Teammate Pedro de la Rosa collected some points for McLaren after benefiting from a last-lap incident to move from seventh to fifth position.
"A difficult race for everybody," admitted de la Rosa. "I made a wrong call after the first stint when I asked my engineer for a different set of intermediate Michelin tyres. In hindsight I should have stayed on the ones I had, like Kimi, as the track was drying, and I suffered from graining.
"This lost me a lot of time but apart from that our pace was good. I didn't see much of what happened towards the end of the final lap. It had started raining slightly again, and we were all on dry weather tyres coming into what is a hard braking area.
"I was lucky to stay out of trouble and gained two places as a result. Our car seems to be on the pace. I'm sure we will win a race before the end of the year."