Ron Dennis has said that Heikki Kovalainen should not beat himself up over his late error that cost him his fourth place at the Australian Grand Prix last weekend.
Kovalainen executed a fantastic overtaking manoeuvre on Fernando Alonso on the penultimate lap of the race, before he accidentally hit his pit-lane speed limiter causing him to slow down and allowing Alonso to regain his position in front.
Dennis believes that despite the error, Kovalainen should feel good about his debut for the McLaren team.
“I have explained to him how punishing yourself as no benefit at all – he had a faultless race. OK, he hit the pit-lane speed limited but I ve see lots of people do that and I m sure he won t do it again!â€ Dennis said. “I could see the pain he was in.â€
“I know he feels this is a fantastic opportunity for him and he doesn’t want to muck it up, and it would be counter-productive to him if there were any feeling that he did, because he didn’t. He did a fantastic job this weekend and did everything we asked him to do. And without the safety car he would have had an absolute well-earned second place.
“So he should take the positives from that and he should go to Malaysia realising there’s absolutely no reason why he can’t be everything we know he can be. He’s nowhere near where he will be in five or six races’ time. He’s going to get better and better – as will Lewis.”
Test driver Marc Gene has expressed his surprise over the incident. In a column for Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Gene said he believes that despite McLaren s protestations, Lewis Hamilton also made the same error last season and therefore he is surprised that the team have not done anything to rectify the situation.
“I was surprised,â€ Gene began. “It is incredible that McLaren still have not done anything about it after that incident cost them so dearly.â€