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Last Updated: Monday, 24 April 2006, 11:08 GMT 12:08 UK
McLaren downplay Ferrari victory
McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya was third in San Marino
McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya was third in San Marino
McLaren managing director Martin Whitmarsh says his team will be the main rivals to Renault in 2006 despite Ferrari's win in the San Marino race.

McLaren's Juan Montoya was third behind Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso's Renault on Sunday.

But Whitmarsh said: "I believe we'll beat Ferrari over the course of the year, even at current levels.

"We need to lift our performance level to beat Renault. We have to accept that Renault is the benchmark."

I believe our contender for the championship is Raikkonen and not Schumacher
Renault boss Flavio Briatore

Renault boss Flavio Briatore agreed with McLaren, suggesting that the Ferrari resurgence would not lead to a concerted push for the title.

"For us this result is very good," he said. "We knew this circuit was not best for us and we still finished second. Better than that, we took more points from [Kimi] Raikkonen.

"I believe our contender for the championship is Raikkonen and not Schumacher - which is great."

After four races defending champion Alonso leads the standings with 36 points, with Schumacher on 21, Raikkonen on 18 and Montoya on 15.

We should have qualified harder and we could have raced harder
McLaren boss Ron Dennis
Alonso and Renault won the drivers' title and constructors' championship respectively last year, ending Ferrari's recent domination.

McLaren team chief Ron Dennis, meanwhile, blamed Kimi Raikkonen's poor performance for the team's failure to finish in the top two on Sunday.

Raikkonen qualified eighth, one place behind Montoya, and ended the race in fifth position.

Dennis said: "Kimi should have been three or four tenths quicker in qualifying and was capable of it.

"It would have put him on the second row of the grid and I think it would have been a very different race.

"We should have qualified harder and we could have raced harder."




SEE ALSO
Schumacher repels Alonso attack
23 Apr 06 |  Formula One
Button angered by Honda blunders
23 Apr 06 |  Formula One
San Marino GP as it happened
23 Apr 06 |  Formula One


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