Hakkinen back to the front?

Mika Hakkinen leapt back into the championship fray by grabbing his first

Hakkinen back to the front?

pole in seven months on his return from holiday.
The Finn outgunned teammate David Coulthard for the first time in five
races and left Michael Schumacher trailing in fourth place.

He punched the air in celebration of his return to form after he climbed
out of the car at the A1 Ring as he took his first pole since Imola in
April.

While Coulthard was testing last week in Italy the world champion was ordered to take a week off because of fears that he was suffering from burn out. "It was great for me to have some time off at home in Monaco and get my act together," he said.

"I took it easy, relaxed, did exercise and got my life sorted out. There is a lot of travelling and testing these days. It has been intensive and this year with the races every two weeks. It's harder than the past so it was nice to have the time off.

The Finn was in blistering form as he took pole from Coulthard 17 minutes into the session and was never headed again. "As a driver you can always improve but this performance was down to what the team has done with the car," said Hakkinen.

"I was able maximise potential of the car even though I lost track time yesterday. This whole session proves we are in top shape. It's a fantastic thing for my confidence. Some of the past races, particularly in qualifying, have been quite disappointing for me.

"But finally we have got pole and we have got it sorted. Now it is a question of getting the handling right and hope David and I can get around the first two corners okay, unlike last year," he said, alluding to the incident when Coulthard tipped him into a spin on the firs lap in the '99 event.

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