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Bahrain: Race Notes - McLaren

NEWS STORY
12/03/2006

Today's season opening race in Bahrain saw Team McLaren Mercedes drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya finish in third and fifth place respectively. Kimi was on a one-stop strategy after starting from the back of the grid, coming in on lap 30 (11 seconds), whilst Juan Pablo stopped twice on laps 23 (8.8 seconds) and 44 (6.9 seconds). Kimi is third in the driver's standings with six points and Juan Pablo is fifth with four. Team McLaren Mercedes is joint first with Renault in the Constructors' rankings with 10 points apiece.

Kimi Raikkonen: "This is a great result after the disappointment of yesterday, but we have known that the car was very strong all weekend. We thought that we had a chance to score some points today, even though we were starting from the back of the grid, but to get a podium is fantastic, The first few laps were crucial to this result, and luckily I managed to overtake a lot of cars at the first corner; I was up to 13th by lap two even though the cars in front were all lighter than me. We then gained some more places later on as a result of our strategy. The outcome is even more important to the whole team, who have been working so hard throughout the winter, as we didn't know where we were after testing and everyone had been saying that we were struggling. However we really have improved over the past few weeks. It proves that we are competitive and if not for yesterday we could have been even better."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "I have not really been totally comfortable with the set up of my car all weekend, which was clear during all the practice sessions. Obviously I am a little disappointed finishing in fifth as I know that the car could do so much more, but it just wasn't working for me this weekend. However it was a steady race and for the team to get two cars finishing in the points could be very important later in the season. The four points I have scored are good considering the circumstances. I am now looking forward to the next race in Malaysia, where we can improve further on these results."

Ron Dennis: "A difficult weekend which stretched the whole team. The results are therefore just reward for their efforts. We are all looking forward to Malaysia where our justifiable expectation is to do better."

Norbert Haug: "Kimi's performance was excellent coming from last place on the grid to finish third on the podium. Kimi was fighting all the way through the race and our one-stop strategy was ideal and helped to make this result possible. With his third place and Juan Pablo's fifth we have gained 10 points and are together with Williams Cosworth the only team which has finished with two cars in the points. So we are heading in the right direction. I want to thank the team for all their efforts following yesterday's problem. We are looking forward to next week's Malaysian Grand Prix."

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