Coulthard believes he can win

David Coulthard has insisted he can win today's Italian Grand Prix and take the world championship down to the wire in Malaysia

Coulthard believes he can win

But his chances suffered a severe blow in qualifying when he was blocked for the second race in succession by Jordan's Heinz Harald Frentzen and could only qualify fifth - directly behind his two title rivals.

"You don't have to be a genius to work out that I've got to keep Mika and Michael behind me but I believe I can do that," said the Scot.

"If I can keep within a win of the championship leader going to Malaysia then I will be in with a chance.

"If there is a 50/50 situation I will going for it," he added. "but not in a
careless way.

"I won't be throwing the car off the track. But I will be looking to get in
front.

"The simple fact is that if I want to win the world title I have got to win
this race."

Frentzen has denied he intentionally blocked Coulthard during Monza qualifying for a race the Scot admits he must win to keep his world title hopes alive.

In Belgium two weeks ago the duo got involved in a tit-for-tat blocking spree which wrecked Coulthard's bid to get on the front row and ultimately had an effect on his race result.

After it happened again in Monza he confronted the German.

"I went to see Frentzen to make sure we weren't having some carry on from what happened at Spa and he has again assured me that was not the case," he said.

"But the fact is my last run was ruined by him. He assures me he didn't see me, so I told him he needs to be a lot more careful on his slowing down laps."

Coulthard believes he could have been on the front row rather than face a stiffer battle from fifth on the grid while championship rival Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen both start directly in front of him in first and third.

But he remains optimistic for the race in which he is trying to claw back Hakkinen's 13 point advantage.

"Despite problems the race is where you score points and not qualifying," he said. "And I believe I will be competitive."

Team boss Ron Dennis also believes McLaren will have an advantage over Ferrari in the Italian Grand Prix.

Dennis' says his conviction is based on computerised race simulation work.

"Qualifying showed how tight it is - that if you are slightly off peak performance you are two-tenths behind," said Dennis.

"But we can take some comfort from the fact that race simulations work here show we can still be very strong here - assuming there is an opportunity somewhere along the line to take advantage of the performance."

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