Dennis explains Raikkonen/Sato incident

McLaren team boss Ron Dennis has explained the misunderstanding which saw Kimi Raikkonen take off Takuma Sato's Jordan in qualifying, leading to his best lap time being annulled and demoting the Finn to sixth on the grid

Dennis explains Raikkonen/Sato incident

Jordan director of engineering Gary Anderson described the incident as 'absurd' but Dennis said: "We were watching the performance of Sato on the pit wall and he had completed three timed laps, which is unusual. Even the teams on the harder option tyre were doing three laps in total (two flying laps). I don't recall anyone doing four timed laps and on the pit wall we were convinced that Sato was on an 'in' lap, so we told Kimi that we thought he was coming in."

Raikkonen therefore, assumed that the Jordan had slowed down and simply didn't see it as he crossed back onto the racing line.

"Kimi slowed down but not enough for Sato to catch him and then accelerated and went back onto the line, but Sato thought he was leaving the door open. Kimi didn't expect him to arrive at full speed.

"There was no problem between the drivers as they came back," Dennis went on, "but, not with the best wisdom perhaps, I stepped in. It would have been better for me to keep out of it but that's not really in my character."

Whatever, the stewards saw fit to cancel Raikkonen's best qualifying time, dropping him to sixth, behind Eddie Irvine on the grid. Anderson said: "I think we should give him [Raikkonen] some of our wing mirrors because he obviously needs them."

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