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McLaren unworried by slow start

Julian Linden | March 05, 2004 17:15 IST

McLaren saw no cause for concern despite their slow start to the new Formula One season on Friday.

Britain's David Coulthard and Finland's Kimi Raikkonen were eighth and tenth fastest in the second practice session for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.

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Both were well over a second behind six times world champion Michael Schumacher and his Ferrari team mate Rubens Barrichello.

"With today's practice sessions not contributing to grid or qualifying positions, teams have understandably adopted different strategies for what is effectively a test in preparation for the real event," said McLaren boss Ron Dennis.

"As the result times are of little significance. We went through our programme and are looking forward to the rest of the weekend."

Raikkonen, who emerged as Schumacher's biggest rival after finishing runner-up last season, said he was unhappy at the set-up of his car.

"We focused on trying to find the right tyres for the weekend and went through our planned programme," Raikkonen said.

"I'm not happy with the set-up of the car at the moment but we will work on it overnight and hopefully improve for tomorrow."

Coulthard, winner of last year's Australian Grand Prix, also brushed off concerns about the team's performance.

Both McLaren drivers completed a total of just 22 laps each during the two one-hour practice sessions but Coulthard said they were just being cautious.

"Like the majority of the other teams, we ran a limited amount of laps as a result of the one-engine rule," Coulthard said.

"We will now concentrate on tomorrow which is when the action really knows."

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