Dennis Laments Raikkonen's Error

McLaren boss Ron Dennis has refused to be too critical of Kimi Raikkonen's last corner mistake in first qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix - even though it almost certainly cost him a chance of grabbing a provisional front row position

Dennis Laments Raikkonen's Error

Raikkonen had looked set to secure McLaren's best qualifying place of the season so far when he went into the final corner too fast and ran wide across the kerbs.

Although he recovered and finished the lap he lost about half a second and slipped down the order to take seventh place - two slots ahead of impressive teammate Pedro de la Rosa.

And although Dennis has seen his drivers so far fail to exploit the full potential of McLaren's MP4-20, he drew short of openly blaming Raikkonen for the unforced mistake.

"Kimi's entry speed into the last corner was a little optimistic and the resulting understeer cost him a significant amount of time," said Dennis. "However trying hard and sometimes getting it wrong is what life is about.

"Hopefully tomorrow we will see him move up the grid. Pedro's performance was exceptionally good taking into consideration the very difficult track conditions that often prevail at the early part of qualifying. His current grid position should give him the opportunity to move forward tomorrow."

Raikkonen said: "The lap started well, however I lost a lot of time in the final sector when I ran wide in the final corner. Finishing seventh was not ideal and means that I have some work to do in second qualifying and the race. However I am happy with the car and I expect more to come tomorrow."

De la Rosa, who is standing in for the injured Juan Pablo Montoya this weekend, had the handicap of being the first man out on the dirty track but kept it clean to leave the team impressed.

"The track was very slippery as a lot of dust had blown onto the circuit during the break," explained the Spaniard. "Being the first driver out was a disadvantage, which was made worse by the windy conditions. However, I felt that the lap itself was good, and that we will be competitive tomorrow."

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