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McLaren: no regrets over Raikkonen 30 May 2005

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren Mercedes MP4/20 spins out of the race when the front suspension breaks on the last lap. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, European Grand Prix, Race, Nurburgring, Germany, 29 May 2005

McLaren insisted they had been right to keep Kimi Raikkonen out on track after the Finn crashed out of the lead on the final lap of Sunday’s European Grand Prix.

Raikkonen went spinning into the gravel just four kilometres from home after the front-right suspension on his MP4-20 finally collapsed following 15 laps of vicious vibration caused by a flat spotted tyre.

The punishment both car and driver were taking was obvious to spectators and TV viewers alike, prompting many to question whether the team should have played for points and brought Raikkonen in. Team boss Ron Dennis disagreed.

“Kimi was able to cope with the inevitable blurred vision for over 15 laps and the team discussed with him his tyre condition,” he said. “We jointly decided to go for the win and no member of the team including Kimi regrets this decision. The resulting suspension failure was understandable in the circumstances.”

Raikkonen’s retirement handed victory to Renault’s Fernando Alonso, who had been rapidly closing on the ailing McLaren in the closing laps. The Spaniard’s win extended his championship lead over Raikkonen to 32 points, while Renault’s advantage over McLaren in the constructors’ standings grew to 23 points.

McLaren’s only consolation was the two points scored by Juan Pablo Montoya for seventh place. The Colombian’s race prospects took a severe knock at the very first corner when the Williams of Mark Webber ran into his McLaren, dropping him from fifth on the grid to 13th place on the opening lap.