David Coulthard Q&A

David Coulthard could now be sitting pretty at the top of the World Championship, had luck gone his way over the past couple of races. He certainly had good fortune in Australia when he won after Juan Pablo Montoya, Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher hit trouble, but that was wiped out with an early retirement in Malaysia, a race he insists he could have won. And he was well set in Brazil until his pit stop. Had the race been stopped a few laps earlier, DC would have been in front; had it run its course, he still had a good chance of coming out on top. Just before Sunday's race, he spoke about the prospects for the rest of the year

David Coulthard Q&A

"I think on outright pace there's still a gap to Ferrari. If you look at their Friday performance in Malaysia and Melbourne, they were a second quicker. That's not an insignificant amount of time. So there is still work to be done. But as I've mentioned many times before, the point that really counts is the race. There's no point in having the quickest car that doesn't finish. What they had in the past is a quick car and a reliable car, and that's what you have to aspire to. At the moment they're trying to get their first win of the year, and we're out there, along with Williams and the other guys to try to stop them getting that first win."

"I was frustrated afterwards of course, because every race is very important. It's individual races that build championships, and our situation is somewhat rosier than we expected going into the start of the season, although given the disagreements between those that write the rules and our team and some other teams we would probably have preferred to have not to have had the success. It's kind of worked quite well for us! I was genuinely happy for the team and genuinely happy for Kimi. There's no question that in the absence of me winning, I'd rather we were taking the points away from the others. If that is the case then it means we have an opportunity to battle for the championship."

"You can never be confident that your car is bulletproof. It would be more of a surprise to them than maybe us [to retire] because they have been so strong in the past. The situation that happened in Malaysia I'm confident won't happen again."

"I've always been very realistic about how form goes. It's not every year that you have the best package and can go out and win. As a competitor, as a driver you need the engine, you need the tyres, you need the car, and whether that was in kart racing, you can't always buy the best bits. Obviously as an F1 driver you can't always be in the best situation. But one thing that I've always remained absolutely confident in is the fact that McLaren is one of possibly only three teams in F1 that can consistently deliver. And even when they go through a period of struggling they still manage to win Grands Prix or a Grand Prix a year. A lot of teams would give a lot for that. So it's a quality organisation. Whenever you're trying to develop, whether it's to stay ahead or whether it's to catch up, you're always going to have an occasional hiccup. We're less accepting of that now because Ferrari have over the last two or three years proven that you can have something that's quick and reliable."

"There's no question whether it's us having negative media or results, or whether it's them, or course anything negative is destabilising, because you have to react to it. Whether you react in a way that's completely brushes it to one side, it's taken a thought process to have to do it. Inevitably they are having to react to answering the questions to it, having to react to understand what they did wrong, and that takes time and energy. But they are quality organisation, and they will react to it as quickly as we could."

"Of course it does. Absolutely. Any organisation, no matter what results you have, you have an underlying confidence that gives you, not arrogance, but self-belief, that you are more than capable of doing the job. You have to have that. But occasionally when something however small gets in your way you have to step over it or get around it if it's that big a problem."

"No, he's not. We've said this before, the chink in his armour is when he's under pressure. Apparently media wise it's been pretty messy as well, because people reacted to what happened in the first two races. He's sensitive to that, just like any of us are. In pure sporting terms I'd never wish anything other than an equal opportunity for me to go out and race these guys, so I don't wish them to have internal problems or media problems or whatever problems they've got. What I wish is to be out there in an equal situation and me hopefully being able to perform in a way that I can win, and then know that you've done a better job that day."

"The car is performing really well in race trim. It's something that we saw in a lot of races last year, but the thing that we didn't talk about openly, but you all knew was the main problem, has improved significantly from last year. So that has given us a leg-up in qualifying scenarios and we can carry that into the race. What has confused the mix a little bit is obviously the qualifying with fuel, and all that sort of thing. But we've been more fortunate or more able to deal with it."

"Michelin have definitely improved their performance. There's still as always work to be done. There's very good tyre wear, but in certain circumstances that isn't always a good thing. If you look at a Bridgestone typically at the end of a stint it's like a slick, if you look at a Michelin, you can still see the grooves. There are gains in not having a tyre that wears as rapidly, and there are gains in having one that does."

"It's purely a reliability issue, providing that they have enough spare parts that they can confidently go to a race and if you have a problem, have a part there that the mechanics know where it goes and how it fits and all that sort of thing. Bear in mind the race mechanics won't work on the car until the week before the first Grand Prix it races in. It will be built by different mechanics, and they'll experience all the problems. So it's a more a [case of] manpower understanding than does the car go quickly? When you talk about development of a car you either hit the track and it's quick, and you address any problems like a widget falling off or whatever, or it's not quick and then you really have to scratch your head and understand the development."

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