OCTOBER 19, 2000
Coulthard seeks to throw down his marker for 2001
DAVID COULTHARD declared today (Thursday) that he wants to finish the season on a high in Malaysia. Coulthard is eager to beat the Ferrari of newly crowned world champion Michael Schumacher, and his own McLaren teammate Mika Hakkinen to win the race at Sepang, near Kuala Lumpur, this weekend at the end of a season of might have beens.
"I want to finish the season on a high," said Coulthard. "I want to be on the front row and win the race. I have been third a few times now and it is not the same as being a triple world champion. I want to win and third means nothing to me."
Early in the year Coulthard appeared to be the man most likely to beat Schumacher to the title as McLaren reeled in Ferrari's early-season advantage but reigning champion Hakkinen was in a run of poor form.
Following victory in Britain Coulthard survived an horrific plane crash to take the fight - both verbally and on the track - to the German with wins in Monaco and France, only to find Hakkinen back on the boil before Schumacher made his late-season bid that climaxed in Japan.
The Scot's mid-season malaise was compounded by pit stop strategies which openly assisted Hakkinen's cause to the detriment of his own when, in the Belgian and German Grands Prix, Coulthard was forced to wait with dry tires on a wet track. Although openly critical at the time Coulthard has now turned his attention towards getting things right for 2001, adding: "The first half of the year I scored a lot of points and then I made a few mistakes. We didn't quite get it right in Spa and Hockenheim and we didn't get it perfect, which shows."
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