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Coulthard vows to help Hakkinen

David Coulthard vowed to help his McLaren team-mate Mika Hakkinen beat Ferrari rival Michael Schumacher in the Japanese Grand Prix after Friday's first practice sessions.

Coulthard, who posted the fourth quickest time of one minute and 39.010 seconds, said he will do his best to be faster than the Ferraris of Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello in Sunday's race.

"The best support I can give to Mika is to be faster than Ferrari," said Coulthard. "He clearly knows how to win a championship because he has done it twice before. But this weekend he needs help from his friends and the team as well."

Coulthard hopes that by being faster than Schumacher he can prevent the German from winning at Suzuka and claiming Ferrari's first world title for 21 years, at the same time as helping Hakkinen to victory and closing the gap at the top of the championship.

The Scot, however, admitted that Schumacher looked good in posting the quickest time of Friday's sessions and said that he and Hakkinen have a lot of work to do to bridge the gap before the race.

"Michael is looking incredibly strong," he added. "Today's times do mean something. It is significant that Ferrari is quickest so we've got a bit of work to do for tomorrow.

"It is not a psychological blow for Michael to be quickest. Ferrari has been looking strong over the last few races so it is not a big surprise to see them fast today. But it is in qualifying where you take the punishment if they are quicker."

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