Dennis Praises Raikkonen after Maiden Pole

McLaren-Mercedes team boss Ron Dennis praised the performance of his young driver Kimi Raikkonen after the Finn recorded the first pole position of his career at the Nurburgring.

Dennis Praises Raikkonen after Maiden Pole

McLaren-Mercedes team boss Ron Dennis praised the performance of his young driver Kimi Raikkonen after the Finn recorded the first pole position of his career at the Nurburgring.

Raikkonen, 23, is in his third season in Formula One since he made his debut with Sauber in the Australian Grand Prix in 2001, but showed maturity beyond his years to take a brilliant pole for the European Grand Prix.

Raikkonen, dubbed the Iceman, was forced to start from the back of the grid in the last race in Canada after failing to set a time in qualifying, having made the same mistake in Spain earlier in the year.

But after the Finn secured his maiden pole with a tremendous final run, which put him 0.032 seconds ahead of Championship leader Michael Schumacher, Dennis believes that Raikkonen's efforts have finally been rewarded.

"I suppose that he has made the odd mistake this year but he has put that right today," Dennis said. "We've spoken about the Canada disappointment a little but all I can say is that results speak for themselves. He did a great job and the performance he put in is to his credit today."

McLaren's Championship rivals Ferrari have increased the stakes after they unveiled their new F2003-GA in Spain, resulting in three race wins out of four for current World Champion Schumacher.

Dennis admitted that the impressive performance of Raikkonen, who is three points behind Schumacher in the Championship race, in McLaren's old MP4-17D is giving him a dilemma over when to introduce the team's new car.

"It is so difficult to know what to do. We have such a competitive racing car and another one waiting in the wings," said Dennis. "But we have to think very carefully about the next few races and next couple of weeks."

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