Haug Backs de la Rosa

Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Norbert Haug has backed Pedro de la Rosa to keep hold of the second race seat at McLaren if Juan Pablo Montoya is not fit enough to make a return at the San Marino Grand Prix

De la Rosa earned great plaudits after a spectacular drive to fifth place in the Bahrain Grand Prix, despite a few off-track incidents, and is only threatened for the seat by McLaren's official reserve driver Alexander Wurz.

Haug believes, however, that de la Rosa showed enough in his first outing for the team to be given a second chance should Montoya's shoulder injury have not healed in time.

When asked whether de la Rosa was an automatic choice for Imola, Haug said: "That is a bit early to say, but for sure Pedro has proven that he deserves to be in Formula One and how much a driver can improve by being a test driver of McLaren-Mercedes.

"Without saying anything against Alexander Wurz, I see no reason why Pedro should not compete again for us, if Montoya cannot drive."

Looking back at de la Rosa's performance in Bahrain, Haug echoed earlier comments from McLaren boss Ron Dennis claiming that the team were not too unhappy with seeing the Spaniard run off the track a few times - because at least it proved he was trying.

"It was a joy to see how Pedro de la Rosa attacked," added Haug. "For sure, in between he found himself off the track, but that can happen when you drive such a race.

"He drove the fastest race lap, Kimi the third fastest and that proves to me that we got our third and fifth position deservedly."

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