McLaren boss Ron Dennis believes Heikki Kovalainen was left with “nowhere to go” during the qualifying incident at the French Grand Prix which left the Finn a lowly 10th on the grid.
Kovalainen was penalised five grid places by race stewards at Magny-Cours for impeding Red Bull’s Mark Webber on one of his flying laps around the Circuit de Nevers.
Kovalainen became entangled with the Williams of Kazuki Nakajima, and the duo combined to block Australian Webber.
However, only Kovalainen was punished for the indiscretion, which Dennis has accepted with good grace, even if it leaves his team facing the prospect of no points tomorrow.
With Lewis Hamilton starting 13th due to his own 10-place penalty from the Canadian Grand Prix, when he ran into the back of Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari, McLaren and Dennis face a problematic day.
“Heikki is in a good position, despite his penalty,” said Dennis as he attempted to put a brave face on matters.
“It was just one of those things as he and Nakajima tried to stay out of Webber’s way.
“But in their efforts to do so there was a bit of positional confusion and nowhere left for him to go. The result was he compromised both his own and Mark’s laps.
“We have no objection to his penalty, and look forward to an exciting and challenging day.”
Kovalainen, who has claimed just one point in the last four races due to a wretched run of bad luck, firmly believes he can still score heavily.
“Owing to the penalty I was given following the mix-up with two other cars, I will start 10th, which is not ideal,” remarked Kovalainen.
“But it’s perfectly possible to score points from there, and that’s what I intend to do.”