Coulthard ready to play hardball?

David Coulthard has hinted he might be prepared to cut up rough with arch rival Michael Schumacher in today's Austrian Grand Prix

Coulthard ready to play hardball?

The McLaren driver has criticised the German for his rough-house tactics in the French Grand Prix. And he was backed up by almost the entire grid - except Schumacher's younger brother Ralf - in a private meeting between the drivers and the FIA, the sport's governing body.

Jacques Villeneuve said Schumacher lacked ethics and his ex-Ferrari team mate Eddie Irvine described him as a bully.

But after the FIA refused to take action, Coulthard hinted that if Schumacher's tactics were allowed then he was allowed to do them too.

"I will be out to race, but within the rules," he said. "I feel more comfortable with Michael behind me rather than in front of me. But anything could still happen. I could get a bad start and he could get a good one. But I am looking forward and not back - that would be negative."

Mika Hakkinen has also taken a jokey side-swipe at the accident he had with Coulthard here last year.

But Coulthard was not amused. "I am not going to let something that happened 12 months ago affect me tomorrow," he said. "My thoughts are all about getting to the first corner in the lead, but it's going to be difficult because Mika is very quick.

"I will have to make the most of my opportunities."

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