Michelin Confident Ahead of Race

French manufacturer Michelin said Kimi Raikkonen's tyre failure in today's qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix was caused by the McLaren driver going off the track.

Michelin Confident Ahead of Race

French manufacturer Michelin said Kimi Raikkonen's tyre failure in today's qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix was caused by the McLaren driver going off the track.

Finn Raikkonen qualified in a disappointing 15th position after making a mistake in the third sector of the Albert Park circuit. The McLaren driver ran off the track and caused damage to the rear left tyre, which eventually disintegrated as Raikkonen drove back to the pits.

"We have looked at the tyre and it is clear that it was damaged as a result of the car running off the track," said Michelin's F1 project chief Pascal Vasselon.

Raikkonen's teammate David Coulthard also suffered a slow puncture in this morning's practice session.

Michelin runners occupied two of the top six positions in today's session, with Williams driver Juan Pablo Montoya as second fastest and Toyota's Oliver Panis in fifth place. Michelin boss Pierre Dupasquier said he was confident their tyres would perform strongly in the race despite today's problems.

"There is no great difference between our Primary compounds and the Options are quite similar, too. So far all appear to be well suited to the track and we have experienced no wear problems at all," said Dupasquier. "I'm expecting our tyres to perform very well in the race."

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