Ralf rues Coulthard contact

Williams' Ralf Schumacher was gutted his first race back from injury ended in the garages after he was punted off track by McLaren's David Coulthard in Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix

Ralf rues Coulthard contact

The German, who was back in action after a six-race lay-off due to the injuries he sustained at the United States Grand Prix - was in fourth spot when Coulthard made a lunge down the inside of Schumacher at the Turn-1 hairpin. The resultant damage forced Schumacher to retire on lap 37 losing vital points for the team.

"It's a true pity that my race had an early end," Schumacher said. "My car had a puncture following contact with Coulthard. He tried to overtake me but I think his move was a bit too optimistic. Anyway, I came into the pits to fix the car which we thought had been damaged but after a careful look, the engineers decided that I could continue the race.

"However, too much time had elapsed by then and it was too late to get out on track again, because I would have been two laps down. It's a shame, because my race had been good until then and I had been fighting in the top five positions. It's true I had lost a place at the start, but all in all I was in a position to collect some useful points."

All was not lost, though, for team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya brought his car home in fifth spot despite a difficult race.

"My start wasn't too bad and I was able to pass Panis but then I went to the inside and it was so dirty that it was like stopping and everybody passed me back," the Colombian said. "I tried to regain my position and I overtook Jacques Villeneuve twice but I didn't have enough traction and he just passed me back. It was real fun! It's good to have achieved fifth position from where we started and I am glad to have collected some good points for the team."

Technical director Sam Michael added: "It was not a good day in terms of results. However, the car pace and strategy was not bad. At least Juan drove through the field and picked up some points. What happened between Ralf and Coulthard was a racing incident and unfortunately it resulted in Ralf's car not scoring points. In terms of reliability, we had no problems."

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