Interview: Coulthard Seeks Satisfaction in Malaysia

McLaren's David Coulthard is not embarrassed by his unexpected victory in the Australian Grand Prix 11 days ago and warned Michael Schumacher today that he will have no easy ride this season.

Interview: Coulthard Seeks Satisfaction in Malaysia

McLaren's David Coulthard is not embarrassed by his unexpected victory in the Australian Grand Prix 11 days ago and warned Michael Schumacher today that he will have no easy ride this season.

The Scot recognised that circumstances played a big part in his success in the Formula One season-opening race in Melbourne, enabling him to oust Ferrari's Schumacher from the Championship lead the German had held since September 2000.

He said the win was far from pure and had left him strangely dissatisfied, something he hopes to remedy in Sunday's Malaysian Grand at Sepang. But while Schumacher has set aside the Melbourne outcome as something of an aberration, Coulthard was not about to take any lessons about deserved victories from the five times champion.

"I can hold my head a bit higher than some of the victories he's had, where teammates had to pull over and give him the win. And he's stood there, spraying the champagne," Coulthard said today in Malaysia. "I don't have to feel embarrassed by that. It's an inevitable thing for Michael to do really, just as inevitable as my response."

The German won 11 of last season's 17 races, including a hugely controversial victory in Austria where Brazilian teammate Rubens Barrichello led from pole to the last lap before moving aside. Schumacher was booed and faced catcalls from angry fans amid worldwide outrage. Such 'team orders' have been officially banned this season.

Pure Win

Coulthard said Melbourne, with changing weather conditions and the safety car twice deployed, had been an unusual race and McLaren were not getting carried away by his win and Kimi Raikkonen's third place.

The Scot won after Schumacher's car lost its aerodynamic deflectors, Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya spun his Williams with victory in his sights and Raikkonen picked up a penalty for pitlane speeding.

"It wasn't a pure victory. Unfortunately I've got very high standards. In my 21st Grand Prix I had pole position, fastest lap and I won. That set the standard for the rest of my career," said Coulthard.

"That's what you aspire to. Taking anything less than pole, fastest lap and a win isn't the same from a pure personal satisfaction point of view. It doesn't really matter if someone says 'well done, good job.' You know yourself how you feel.

"So I don't feel as good about that victory as many others and I was actually disappointed with my performance during the course of the weekend."

Clock Ticking

That said, Coulthard was happy enough to start the season with a win for the first time since 1997 and was looking for another podium finish in Malaysia.

"I think it would be a brave man to go into the weekend betting against Ferrari setting the pace," he said. "But under pressure he (Michael) does make mistakes and we just need to make sure we're in a position to put him under pressure."

Coulthard will be 32 next week and knows that time is ticking against him as he bids to become Britain's first champion since Damon Hill in 1996.

"Everything you get nowadays has a sell-by date and Grand Prix drivers are no different," he said. "I'll be 32 in a week's time. Physically and mentally I see no reason why I should be thinking that I should get off this high-speed driving lark.

"Inevitably there's a desire to want to see young blood, new people to get excited about, but the fact is I think I've got a few good races left in me yet. If I have an opportunity to go wheel to wheel with Michael, I will."

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