Ron Dennis has criticised Formula 1's "unfair" new safety car rules that he believes potentially cost McLaren-Mercedes a one-two finish in Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.

While Lewis Hamilton mastered the challenging Circuit Gilles Villeneuve perfectly to seal his maiden triumph in the top flight, team-mate Fernando Alonso was not so fortunate, being forced to serve a stop-go penalty for coming into the pits too soon during the first safety car period whilst the pit-lane was still closed and ultimately taking the chequered flag a distant seventh.

"The whole team worked so hard to achieve the optimum result today," the team principal remarked afterwards, "but the safety car intervention proved to be unfair on some drivers. The frustration and disappointment of receiving a stop-go penalty having been forced to stop in the pit-lane when the pit-lane was closed in the first safety car period was obviously immense, but then how silly would we have looked if we had run out of fuel because of a safety car?

"However this in no way should detract from a mature and disciplined drive by Lewis to claim his first grand prix win. His family should be justifiably proud of his achievement and whatever McLaren and Mercedes-Benz have contributed only complements his talent and commitment. He didn't put a foot wrong and thoroughly deserved this. Now he has ticked all the boxes, maybe he will have some breathing space through the rest of the year.

"Fernando was truly unlucky today, but there is still a long way to go in the world championship and we appear to be extremely competitive. The entire team is obviously delighted that Robert Kubica is ok."

Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice-President Norbert Haug echoed Dennis' sentiments, and professed himself extremely encouraged by the Woking-based outfit's strong start to the 2007 campaign, one that has seen it open up a 28-point advantage over Ferrari in the constructors' standings and Hamilton and Alonso comfortably setting the pace in the drivers' title chase too.

"Lewis took his first grand prix victory in only his sixth Formula 1 race," Haug remarked. "He did the best job of all and kept cool throughout. Congratulations and compliments to him. Fernando fell victim to the new safety car rules and received a stop-go penalty because he had to refuel as the pits were still closed during the first safety car phase, but when the tank is empty you have no other choice than to come in. He posted the fastest lap of race and was a contender for the podium, but at least he scored a couple of points under difficult circumstances.

"We have won three out of the six races, finished all the race laps with both cars so far this year and are the only team to have finished every race in the points. Thank you to everybody in the team for their great efforts to make this possible. We now look forward to the US Grand Prix in Indianapolis in a week's time, but the most important news today is that Robert Kubica is ok after his horrifying accident."