Coulthard Pledges: We're Here for a Real Race This Time; GRAND PRIX

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Byline: RAY MATTS

DAVID COULTHARD delivered the message all the world wanted to hear before tomorrow's Brazilian Grand Prix: 'We are here to race.' The 26-year-old Scot's code of honour brought him as many brickbats from disgruntled punters as bouquets from his motor-racing peers when he allowed McLaren team-mate Mika Hakkinen to win in Australia three weeks ago.

But here, on the other side of the globe, the weight of public opinion and the wrath of Formula One's hierarchy will force McLaren to permit their duo to go head-to-head.

There will be no pre-race pact between the two drivers.

Coulthard said: 'I want to go out and win, fair and square. I believe there should be open-wheel competition and that's what there will be in our team when the car is reliable enough to do that.' But he insisted: 'McLaren is a team and I drive for the team. Ron Dennis is the owner and he is the one who calls the shots. Mika and I are employees. Nothing happened in Melbourne that hasn't happened in motor-racing since it began. It's naive to think that what occurred is a crime. It isn't.' Coulthard had little sympathy for punters who lost money by backing him in Australia. …