Dennis defends tire decision

MCLAREN team boss Ron Dennis defended his decision to send Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard out on wet tires after their first pit-stop as the Woking team continued their disappointing start to the season in Malaysia.

Dennis was forced to watch Ferrari take full control of the race in drying conditions as McLaren continued to struggle with understeer problems after their pit-stops.

He said: "Are we disappointed? Not really, but we are more frustrated. Today was one of those days when you have to make a decision and we made ours to go on wets and they (Ferrari) took a risk and went on intermediates.

"They were lucky too because both of their cars went off the track and nearly hit the barriers, and they also had an extraordinary pitstop when the safety car was out.

"Should we have gone on intermediates? At the time, there was such heavy rain and running water that we took the decision that we thought was the correct one in those conditions. I am very happy with that decision."

Dennis rejected suggestions that McLaren are already out of the title race and pointed to the fact that his team are better placed than last year.

He added: "Sometimes you have to call and that's the way it goes. It worked for them (Ferrari) today but it is a long season and we are not despondent. At least we are 10 points better off this year than last year."

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