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MAY 28, 2001

Irvine deserves result, says Stewart

THREE-TIMES world champion Jackie Stewart has said that Eddie Irvine deserved his third-placed finish in Monaco because of the troubles he has had this season.

Irvine has been regularly criticized for his performances for Jaguar this year, but Stewart insisted that the Ulsterman drove with "great maturity" in Monaco.

Stewart believes that securing Jaguar's first-ever podium will give Irvine a boost and said that the result is reward for his efforts in developing the team.

"It's the right place to get a result and Eddie drove with great maturity not only in the race but throughout the weekend," Stewart said.

"He practiced well, he qualified well and he raced well - you couldn't ask for more.

"He proved himself here by driving in a very controlled way so he was ready to take advantage of opportunities and to resist any pressure from Jacques (Villeneuve) at the end."

Irvine finished third behind the Ferrari's of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello after benefiting from the new aerodynamic package on the R2.