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JUNE 16, 2001

Schumacher brands Coulthard lucky

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER believes Scot David Coulthard is only in a fight for the championship because he has been riding his luck this year.

German triple world champion Schumacher has scored four wins to Coulthard's two and said that his McLaren-driving rival has benefited from good reliability this year.

"David has been honestly lucky this year," said Schumacher. "He has always been in the points and although he has struggled with the pre-start situation twice, a zero point (in Canada) was the first time and that is pretty unusual."

Coulthard has suffered at the hands of McLaren's new launch control system but has always been able to come back into the points, and Schumacher believes technical problems are just something you have to get over.

"I wouldn't call them frustrating," said Schumacher. "You have to live with them - that's part of racing. What goes around comes around - one day you suffer, the next day another suffers."

However, after his first failure to finish this season in the last race, Coulthard's luck could be turning for the worse, but Schumacher is not seeing that as a chance to take it easy.

"I believe after Imola people thought the same about me," said Schumacher. "Now I am back - but I am not comfortable at all.

"I believe that the main rivalry is between Coulthard and myself, but even though I am roughly 30 points ahead of Ralf it can still mean that he is able to win the championship. It is far too long to be over."