David Coulthard Q&A

David Coulthard's championship aspirations took a battering in the Belgian GP when he finished only fourth. Team mate Mika Hakkinen is now 13 points clear of the Scot, having won three of the last four races. David's race at Spa was badly compromised by McLaren's decision to leave him out on wet tyres and not bring him in for a change on the same lap as Hakkinen. That dropped him to ninth, and left him caught behind Heinz-Harald Frentzen for the first half of the race. The decision almost certainly cost him third place and possibly a shot at victory, because Hakkinen lost 10s with his spin and subsequently dropped back from Schumacher, at which point David might have been able to challenge the Finn

David Coulthard Q&A



"I'm very disappointed. Obviously it was going to be difficult to win from there. But you saw that Michael was able to finish second, and allowing for the race playing out I should have been third. I lost a lot of time being the last to stop, and in hindsight we probably could have come in the same lap Mika stopped, because there was a big enough gap. And even if I'd spent two seconds waiting for him to get out of the pit it would have been much less than I lost actually running on the track for that extra lap. And it got me stuck behind Heinz-Harald, and I lost a chunk of time behind him."



"It's a team call at the end of the day. I'm part of that process but obviously I don't have the benefit of seeing what lap times people are doing. So in this situation I do rely on the information from the engineers. They didn't think at the time I started the lap that there was enough time to bring me in at the same time as Mika. But then when I was running behind him he was about 5s quicker in the middle sector. Take that back to the lap before, and I could have probably come in behind him. I have just not benefited at all from any of these calls. It's not a deliberate action, it's just unfortunate, but I'm left with less points than maybe I should have had. At the time, armed with the information the team had, they didn't work it out. It's as clear as day for us all now, but try and put yourself in the same situation, in the team's defence then under pressure, with a minute and a bit to play with, it can be quite difficult."



"I've got to be careful because I don't want to be openly critical of people who've been very supportive of me and have helped me win three Grands Prix so far this year. We all try to do the best we can, and today we were not good enough."



"I didn't ask to come in. I was in a conversation about what was the right thing to do, what should we be doing. I knew where I was on the track and I knew it was drying very quickly. Obviously I'd seen Michael pit in front of me, so I was waiting to see what his sectors were, and obviously the team could see that. So I expected to be coming in the next lap, but then obviously there was the Mika factor, which means you can't bring two cars in. In this case though there was a big enough gap, and that's what confused the issue."



"I was losing a second and a half behind Frentzen. Once I got clear I was much, much quicker. You just get in dirty air and with a lot of fuel on board, that's it."



"I don't expect him to do any favours with what happened (in qualifying) or not, because he's racing for points. But it can be frustrating when you know a car's so much slower than you. In the key area to overtake, he was good on traction out of La Source, and I could never get close out of Eau Rouge. I got one hit at Jenson because I made a little manoeuvre on the outside to try and slow him down on the exit, and that gave me the run on him up through Eau Rouge. I was never able to do that with Heinz-Harald. You then just have to follow round the rest of the track."



"I think it will be the usual suspects at the front, not dissimilar to this [Spa]. So we'll see. I obviously need to win there for the championship."



"What will be decisive will be the point at which one guy's got more points than are available for his nearest competitor to get in front of him. It makes a nice peg to hang the championship on if you like. I'm not giving up yet, but it's certainly going to be very difficult from this point."

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