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DATE News (chronologically)
04/14/08
f1
McLaren to blame for Hamilton mistakes - Raikkonen  (GMM)  World champion and 2008 championship leader Kimi Raikkonen has defended Lewis Hamilton's poor showing at the recent Bahrain grand prix.

Hamilton, who in the Gulf dropped behind the Finn and even BMW-Sauber's Nick Heidfeld in the drivers' standings, came in for extensive criticism following his error-strewn run to thirteenth place.

"Lewis did not make many mistakes last year.  This year, they are not in as strong a position with the car," Ferrari driver Raikkonen, referring to his former team McLaren, said.

The 28-year-old was speaking at Ferrari's Fiorano test circuit last weekend for a Shell sponsor event.

He suggested that McLaren, rather than the 23-year-old Briton, is mostly to blame for Hamilton's form slump.

"Maybe it makes it more difficult when you do not have such a good package and you try to push more and more -- especially during a race when your weekend has not been as good," Raikkonen added.

Despite winning the championship last year, Raikkonen said he now feels much more comfortable at Ferrari, whose current car he admits is "pretty fast".

"After three races, I am leading the championship and after three races last year I wasn't.

"So, I am very happy.  I was in a new team and you had to expect a learning curve.

"The first year was difficult as it takes time to get used to people.

"Last year was tough for me.  It is now much easier as they know what I want and I know what they want.  Everything is very smooth and everything is improving," Raikkonen said.

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