OCTOBER 2, 2000

Schumacher attempts to end Coulthard feud

Michael Schumacher has attempted to end his feud with David Coulthard ahead of this weekend's crucial race in Japan.

Michael Schumacher has attempted to end his feud with David Coulthard ahead of this weekend's crucial race in Japan.

Schumacher, who can win the drivers' championship with Ferrari at Suzuka on Sunday, has been at loggerheads with McLaren's Coulthard since the pair clashed at the United States Grand Prix.

Schumacher criticized Coulthard for what he considered to be blocking when he was attempting to pass the Scot, who retaliated to the German's claims by labelling the his words as "unfair."

But Schumacher has now tried to calm the storm and suggested his first evaluation of Coulthard's actions at Indianapolis may have been wrong.

"After the race I was very perplexed," said Schumacher. "From the cockpit I got a certain view of the situation, especially because he made contact with me.

"But when I looked at the television footage, it seemed to me that his maneuver was quite normal and there was nothing particularly strange about it."

Schumacher is expecting similar tactics to be deployed by Coulthard at Suzuka as he predicts the Scot will attempt to help his team-mate Mika Hakkinen win the race and take the title battle to the final round in Malaysia.

He added: "It is clear that at Suzuka, I expect David will do everything possible to make life hard for me by trying to help Hakkinen.

"But it is also clear that Rubens Barrichello will try and do the same thing for me as well."

Schumacher is in confident mood as he heads to Japan, despite admitting that he is feeling the effects of a long, hard season, particularly after missing most of last year after breaking his leg at Silverstone.

"I'm going to Suzuka to win," he said. "We have a real chance of success because the car is really well prepared. If we don't succeed in Japan, then we will try again two weeks later in Malaysia.

"But I'm feeling the stress a little bit. It hasn't been a relaxing time at all and I still haven't completely got over the jet-lag from the States. But I'm prepared to sacrifice this and a lot more to bring the title back to Maranello. And the same can be said of the entire team.

"My strength comes from the fact that when I get into the car, everything else disappears. There is just me and my Ferrari and the engine that accompanies me lap after lap.

"Everything else, the fans, the expectations of all those in the pits, the anxieties and fears, they all just disappear.