Schuey backtracks over Coulthard remarks

Michael Schumacher has played down his clash with David Coulthard at Indianapolis in the run up to the penultimate round of the World Championship in Japan this weekend

Schuey backtracks over Coulthard remarks

Schumacher was scathing in his criticism of DC in the post-race press conference after the pair tussled for the lead in the opening laps of the United States Grand Prix 10 days ago.

Schumacher squeezed his Ferrari past the McLaren-Mercedes of Coulthard for the lead on lap six, but the cars touched wheels as Coulthard forced the German around the outside into the first corner. After watching the television footage of the incident, Schumacher was less critical.

"Seeing the television pictures I had to change my opinion," said Schumacher. "Looking at it from the outside it was a tough, but completely normal racing move. From inside [the car] it looked different and it also felt different since our cars touched. I thought that was over the top, but that is not the case."

Schumacher's backtrack on his remarks about Coulthard are seen by some as an olive branch to the Scot as the pair have clashed on several occasions throughout the season. However, the two-time world champion does not expect Coulthard to be any easier to get past at Suzuka this weekend.

"I imagine that Coulthard will try to get ahead to slow me down," he said, "and to give his team mate Mika Hakkinen air to get away in front. We will try to do the same with Rubens [Barrichello] no doubt."

Schumacher heads to Suzuka with an eight-point advantage over championship rival Mika Hakkinen. The Finn flew to Hawaii after the US GP for a short break while Schumacher returned to Europe for three days of testing.

"It is not the right time to take some holidays yet," Schumacher said. "I want to win the World Championship. And to achieve that, I have to work. It would not have been the right moment for a couple of days off."

Coulthard lies 25 points adrift of the German and is therefore mathematically out of the battle for the championship.

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