McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen had to settle for the runners-up spot at Monza on Sunday - and he freely admitted at the finish that race winner Sebastian Vettel was just too quick.

Kovalainen, who began the race in second, never really looked like challenging the Toro Rosso driver for the victory and in the end the Finn finished 12.5 seconds adrift in his MP4-23.

Speaking after the race, Heikki explained that brake and tyre problems were to blame for his failure to challenge for P1.

"In today's tricky weather conditions I struggled to keep temperature in the brakes, and in the opening stages of the race I had problems with my extreme-wet tyres," he confirmed.

"First I thought it would improve after a few laps, but it didn't. Only at the end was I able to match the lap times of Sebastian Vettel in front of me. In today's conditions he was just too fast for me - congratulations to him for his very first grand prix win.

"I'm happy to have scored eight points though, and I look forward to the next race in Singapore now."

McLaren-Mercedes team principal Ron Dennis was however still happy with the performance of his 'number two' driver even if he couldn't challenge the customer car of Vettel.

"Heikki drove well to finish second and bag eight valuable world championship points," Dennis observed. "The visibility in the rain early on was dreadful, and it was sensible of him to drop back a little from Sebastian in the first few laps.

"As the race unfolded we thought he might be able to catch Sebastian, but he was prevented from doing so when his tyres began to lose grip as the rain abated."

Kovalainen's second - in combination with Lewis Hamilton's seventh place finish, allowed McLaren to cut the gap to Ferrari in the constructors' championship. The gap is now down from 11 points pre-Monza to just 5 going into the final four long haul races in Singapore, Japan, China and Brazil.


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hk is boring - but if hi keeps letting lh pass him when told the "secret code" ("lewis is faster!"), he ll keep his seat