Hakkinen counts on Coulthard

Mika Hakkinen is on a mission to save his world title hopes with victory at this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix - but admitted he can't do it without McLaren-Mercedes team mate David Coulthard

Hakkinen counts on Coulthard

Hakkinen has clinched the world championship at Suzuka for the last two years. But with Michael Schumacher's eight-point lead making him the clear favourite, the Finn needs to win to take the battle all the way to the final round in Malaysia in a fortnight.

"I've come to this Grand Prix well prepared," said Hakkinen, "and my mission is to try to get the best out of the car, get the best possible set-up and try and win, because that is the only way to continue the fight. The pressure is no more than I've been under for the last couple of years here."

Schumacher has appealed for a straight fight between the duo, but Hakkinen, who is aiming for a title hat-trick, needs his team mate Coulthard to finish second behind him to deprive Schumacher of valuable points.

"I hope David gets maximum speed out of the car and we are first and second on the front row on Saturday afternoon," said Hakkinen. "David is not number two. David is part of the team - equal with me.

"The difference is eight points. In one sense that is quite a lot, but in the other it is not that much because you saw what happened to me at the last Grand Prix and that shows how easily it can turn around."

The Finn lost his status as title favourite after his engine blew while he was chasing Schumacher for victory in Indianapolis - converting a two point lead into that eight point deficit.

"A retirement is always very dramatic, whatever time of the season it is," he said, "but at this stage even one point or 10 points is important. When something like Indianapolis happens, it is very disappointing but you just get over it."

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