Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Coulthard Will Not Give Up the Chase

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Coulthard Will Not Give Up the Chase

Article excerpt


SILVER linings are in short supply after the latest blow to David Coulthard's diminishing hopes of the world title. The best that can be said is that even though Mika Hakki-nen won yesterday's British Grand Prix, it is now mathematically impossible for him to regain the championship. Therefore he must now help his team-mate's challenge. But in 11 races this season Hakkinen has not cost Coulthard a single point, so any benefit may be negligible.

How typical that on a day when for once the rain held off, the race still had cold water poured all over it. Presumably Jarno Trulli has never seen the signpost for Silverstone village bearing the legend: "Please drive carefully." For Coulthard's already paltry chances of overhauling Michael Schumacher's championship lead were damaged further when Trulli refused to accept the Scot was faster off the grid, and attempted to reach the first corner at Copse on the inside. The Jordan ended up in the kitty litter and Coulthard's unwanted extracurricular travels relegated him to 19th.

Coulthard hobbled on until lap three when he was forced to give in to rear suspension damage, leaving Hakkinen - previously unable to map a route out of a paper bag this season - to take his first chequered flag since Spa last August. The worst of it was McLaren had designed their whole race strategy around Coulthard and the car looked in superb shape.

The idea was that Hakkinen, with a light fuel load, would zip ahead of Schumacher off the grid, then hold him up. Hence Coulthard, in third with a heavy fuel load, could challenge Schu-macher at the optimum moment, or wait until the Ferrari pitted, before being waved through by Hakkinen. Instead Coulthard's instant demise permitted Hakki-nen to sprint off over the horizon from the word go.

"Had we been able to run one-two then I would have won my home grand prix," confirmed Coulthard. …

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