DC predicts tight battle for pole

David Coulthard has predicted a nail-bitingly-close battle for victory at this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix

DC predicts tight battle for pole

The McLaren driver, who topped Friday's practice session times, believes the uncomplicated nature of the A1-Ring will lead to a closely packed grid.

"I think the nature of the circuit will dictate that this weekend will be pretty tight," said Coulthard, who was fastest ahead of Mika Hakkinen and Rubens Barrichello, with current points leader Michael Schumacher finishing fifth.

"If you look at the times today, they are all pretty tight behind me," he said. "It is a longish lap relative to the amount of corners we have, so I think that is why we are seeing it quite close. Engines speeds these days are quite similar at the end of the straight also.

"It is going to be a close battle, incredibly so. If you make one little mistake in qualifying you could find yourself quite a few rows down. I think the battle for pole will be right down to the last run."

Coulthard has finished second in Austria for the past four years and is yet to win this race. But the Scot, currently eight points behind Schumacher in the championship, reported he had very few problems with his Mercedes-powered car, although he insists there is room for improvement.

"I am glad to be at the front today rather than be in fourth or fifth, even though it is only Friday," he said. "I know I can go quicker and that we have not got the maximum out of the car and that gives me confidence because once we get on top of it we should gain quite a bit of time.

"It is a very similar situation to Imola in that, although we are going reasonably well, I am not that happy with the overall balance. I know that if we can click in, then we are going to go quite a chunk quicker.

"I want to win. I am very motivated and I am really enjoying the challenge and the motor racing."

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