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Coulthard patches up differences with Schumacher

SCOT David Coulthard took his opportunity to clear the air with Michael Schumacher in the parc ferme after the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Schumacher last week publicly criticized Coulthard for not speaking to him directly but the Scot found the time to apologize to the new world champion.

The McLaren driver explained: "I apologized to Michael for the year. We have had some differences and I am embarrassed by some of the things I have said and done. I said he was a very worthy champion and that I am looking forward to racing against him next year.

"We all react in the heat of the moment and act in ways we regret. I always said I wouldn't get into speaking to someone via the press, but I did. I don't think that was fair on Michael and I wanted to apologize.

"I am not saying I am wrong with some of my opinions, but I want to talk them out face-to-face. Once you get into the season, you find it difficult to talk to other competitors. You build up barriers, and I wanted to talk to Michael and clear the air."

Coulthard started the race well and was handed the lead by team-mate Mika Hakkinen on the second lap. But the Scot was forced into the pits on lap 17 to cool down his overheated car and spent the remainder of the race chasing Schumacher.

"We didn't intend to stop as early as that, but when I went off I filled the left side of the car up with grass, but it worked out OK.

"I went past Mika in turn three when he heard he had a penalty, I tried to pull away as fast as I could. I was coming out of turn six and I just misjudged the track. It wasn't enough to do any damage, but I had to come in early anyway just to check. That stopped any chance of winning.

"I was pushing hard at the end, but there was a lot of dirty air that makes driving very difficult. It was just a case of settling for second. My goal is trying to better my four third positions, and I feel I am lucky to be in cars that have got me there.

"I knew the moment that Mika moved on the grid that the constructors' championship was gone."

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