August 18th, 2002

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McLaren - worst qualifying performance of the year

McLaren admitted that they did not understand their lack of performance in qualifying at the Hungaroring today. David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen managed a season-worst result of tenth and eleventh places respectively, behind the Ferraris, Williams, Saubers and Fisichella's Jordan.

Team principal Ron Dennis stated: "Our lack of performance in light of the results we achieved in Monaco and Magny Cours, which are circuits with similar characteristics, is something which we at this stage don't fully understand.

DC"No specific part of the package is responsible, but we haven't even managed to get the best out of what we have.

"Obviously the engineers will work hard prior to the race and I'm sure our performance will improve, but it's going to need a very good strategy to get a podium finish when one takes into consideration how difficult it is to overtake at the Hungaroring."

Coulthard, who has seen his qualifying performance dip in recent races in comparison to team mate Raikkonen, struggled with an unbalanced car throughout the hour-long session.

"Obviously I'm very disappointed. It was extremely difficult to make the tyres work and find the right balance," he said.

"We have been struggling all weekend and so far we have been unable to find a better performance from the package. We will work hard to try and identify where and how to improve things for tomorrow's race."

For Raikkonen it will be his first experience of starting a race outside the top six in a McLaren. "I'm clearly not satisfied with starting the race from the sixth row," he commented.

"I struggled with traffic on what would have been my fastest lap and also I made a mistake in one of my runs. However we did struggle with balance and whilst the race is not going to be easy, as it's nearly impossible to overtake here, we will do our best."
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    surprised surprised
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Toyota accept penalty

Toyota stoically accepted the 25-second penalty awarded to Mika Salo after it was judged that the team had released him from a pit stop in Hungary before it was safe to do so.

Instead they took heart from the fact that it was the first time that both drivers had completed a race since round six of the FIA Formula One World Championship™ in Austria in May.

Mika Salo crossed the line in 13th place but was later given his penalty for a close call with Pedro de la Rosa in the pit lane, dropping him to 15th.

"The car was pretty well balanced in the race. I had a close call with de la Rosa in the pit lane, which I have been penalised for," Salo stated in a press release.

"I drove a good race today and kept off some pressure towards the end, so I am not happy about losing 25 seconds for what I think was normal.

"About 20 laps from the end my fire extinguisher in the car went off as well and sprayed foam everywhere. I couldn't really see anything after that and had to drive the last laps from memory."

Allan McNish finished the race in 15th place, only 1.3 seconds behind Salo. He somewhat ironically benefits from Salo's penalty to be officially classified 14th.

"I got a clean start and had de la Rosa and Mika ahead. It is notoriously difficult to overtake here and all we could do was sit in line," he explained.

"At my second stop I had a problem selecting gear which lost a bit of time, but I was making up ground at the end. Overall there were no major technical problems, other than some slight understeer and I am pleased to finish the race."

President Ove Andersson added: "I am really so very happy with this result. We have not been able to have both cars complete a race for so long. I think it will be a big relief for the whole team.

"People have varying conceptions on what makes a success, but I can definitely say that this is a success for Toyota, in spite of the 25-second fine that was imposed on Mika."
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