Eddie Irvine says he isn't disappointed after just missing out on a points finish at the Nurburgring because his Jaguar team is finally becoming competitive
The Ulsterman believes the Big Cat has made a leap in performance and extracted the maximum from both cars at this weekend's European Grand Prix as they outclassed Jordan, BAR and Sauber.
Irvine started 12th and finished outside the points in seventh, just 1.3 seconds off the pace of sixth-placed Mika Hakkinen, while team mate Pedro de la Rosa trailed Irvine to race home eighth after starting back in 16th.
"I wouldn't say it was perfect, but we couldn't have got a better result than we did," said Irvine. "We qualified as well as we could have qualified. Both me and Pedro made good starts and we had a good race.
"I don't see how we could have gone any faster today. We basically need a faster car and we have got that coming."
Jaguar struggled in the early part of this year, but since a new aerodynamic package was introduced for the Monaco Grand Prix last month, the performance of the Milton-Keynes-based team has taken an upturn.
Irvine added that he is delighted that Jaguar came home at the top of the mid-field pack, which includes both Honda-powered teams of Jordan and BAR, and also Sauber.
"It is really good to see that we are now at the top of the mid-field pack and not at the back," he said. "I spent quite a while behind Frentzen [for Jordan] and I couldn't work out whether he was carrying a lot of fuel or whether our tyres were giving me an advantage. I was amazed at how easy I found it to keep up with him. The car felt great, the pit-stop strategy was excellent and the Michelin tyres worked perfectly."
Jaguar remain seventh in the constructors' championship and has only scored five points, but Irvine was unconcerned about not adding to the tally in Germany.
"We didn't get any points today," he said, "but that is not a major issue because we are getting more competitive. As you get more competitive the points come."
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