Dennis Plays Down McLaren's Poor Showing

McLaren boss Ron Dennis has played down his team's qualifying performance for the Japanese Grand Prix

Dennis Plays Down McLaren's Poor Showing

McLaren, who lead Renault by two points in the constructors' standings with one race remaining after Japan, will have to fight from the rear after rain played havoc with their qualifying hopes.

Kimi Raikkonen, who has a 10-place penalty for an unscheduled engine change in Friday's practice, was 17th fastest but will start last.
 
Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya did not even set a time in the treacherous conditions.

"Initially it might look like qualifying was a disaster for us, but at the moment we are here to fight first for the Constructors' Championship and second to win the race, so with Alonso's grid position things are not as bad," said Dennis.

"We know that we have a quick package and a strong strategy, and this leads us to believe that at least if the weather stays dry we should be in a position to leave Japan with at least as many points as Renault."

McLaren's hopes of clinching the title in Suzuka depend on them finishing first and second with Renault scoring no more than one point. Otherwise the battle will be decided in Shanghai next weekend.

Raikkonen was not too disappointed about the rain after he knew the engine penalty meant he would start far from the top of the grid.

"The rain started falling heavily just a few minutes before Juan Pablo and I had to qualify, so the conditions were bad, and it was really too wet to do anything at all," said the Finn.

"It's a shame for the team that we suffered so much, but you never know what the weather will do tomorrow, and as we have seen in the races this year anything can happen.

"I'm obviously disappointed, but I didn't get penalised as much as I would have had to move ten places down the grid anyway. We will go out tomorrow and do the best race we can and then see where we are in the Constructors' standings afterwards."

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