Heikki Kovalainen could have won Sunday's Turkish GP had it not been for the puncture he suffered on the opening lap, according to Martin Whitmarsh.
Kovalainen started the grand prix second on the grid, behind the Ferrari of Felipe Massa. However, it was a coming together with Massa's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen that caused the puncture.
Jostling for position as they came into the first corner, Raikkonen out-braked himself, touching the back of Kovalainen's McLaren and puncturing one of his tyres.
As a result the McLaren driver was forced to pit for a new tyre, which sent him to the back of the field. He spent the remaining 57 laps trying to work his way back into the points but eventually outside the top ten.
It was a disappointing outcome for the Finn as McLaren CEO Whitmarsh believes he had the pace and starting position needed to win the grand prix.
"If Heikki had not made that stop, he would have run longer than Felipe at the first stop and if he could have been close to Massa, which I think he could have been, he would have been able to take him at the first stop," he said.
"And the in qualifying with a reasonable fuel load onboard and had he been able to deploy and exploit that in the race, I've never known him as disappointed as this.
"He really felt he could win this race and as the race panned out, I think he knows he could have won it - and it eluded him. And that's disappointing.
"And I said to Heikki, he's absolutely right to be disappointed but on the other hand he wouldn't be so disappointed if he hadn't done such a great job to put himself in that position.
"He put himself in a position to win a race and he will win races this year and in the future and he really deserves to. He's an extraordinary chap."