Dennis Laments Montoya's Mistake

McLaren boss Ron Dennis said his team's new recruit Juan Pablo Montoya threw away a possible podium finish in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Dennis Laments Montoya's Mistake

McLaren boss Ron Dennis said his team's new recruit Juan Pablo Montoya threw away a possible podium finish in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Montoya, who joined from Williams at the end of last season, started from ninth on the grid and finished 35.033 seconds behind eventual winner Giancarlo Fisichella in sixth place to pick up his first points for his new team.

But Dennis revealed his race was ruined by a mistake and said: "We threw away second place because Juan Pablo went off and when you do that two things happen â€" the tyres get dirty and cool down so you struggle for grip.

"He threw a second place away and it was a matter of (engine) conservation from then on. You can never criticise a driver that tries hard and we all make mistakes, but the penalty you make now for making a mistake is so big."

Montoya was still some 29 seconds shy of third-placed finisher Fernando Alonso as McLaren's main rivals Renault enjoyed a sparkling day and wracked up 16 Constructors' Championship points.

But Dennis insisted McLaren are on the pace and ready to win and claimed that his team had been victims of the new qualifying rules that, he suggested, artificially shuffle the pack.

"We have the pace to win so we just have to grin and bear it here," he said. "But it is not the way to go motor racing. It is a bit frustrating but it is character building stuff. As always, it is the same for everyone, but when you have these quirky qualifying rules with the weather we had it distorts the outcome, but maybe that was the intention."

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