Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

David Has a Lot to Reflect On

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

David Has a Lot to Reflect On

Article excerpt


IF David Coulthard is in search of a heartening mantra, he could do worse than to adopt the old adage that form temporary, whereas class is permanent.

Half a dozen races ago the talk was of his genuine title challenge. Now there is a wretched threat that he might not hang on second place in the championship. A humiliating fourth is even a possibility especially on current form.

The ugly statistics tell their own story. In the last five races he has scored just seven points. By comparison Ralf Schumacher has gathered 29 points, and Rubens Barrichello 16 points. Schumacher's Williams is the most exciting car of the year in terms of improved performance and reliability.

Meantime, the season of Brazilian Barrichello has been particularly consistent, thanks in part to the Ferrari being the grid's most reliable car.

In 12 races it has failed Michael Schumacher just twice and Barrichello only once (he has had two accidents). Both drivers have taken full advantage.

The three-time champion has been first or second every time he has reached the chequered flag and Barrichello has made the podium eight times.

These are figures that Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen can only dream of. Ten times in 24 starts the McLaren has failed to go race distance, in addition to which computer failure when Coulthard was on pole in Monaco clearly cost him victory.

For a while this season there was a black joke going around about which of them would next be allowed the car that works, but that came to an end three weeks ago at Hockenheim when both cars expired little more than halfway through the race. Now Ralf Schumacher and Barrichello are just six and seven points respectively behind Coulthard, while the Scot is a hopeless 37 points adrift of Michael Schumacher.

If the latter wins in Hungary on Sunday, he will have his fourth title.

With five races remaining it is mathematically improbable that both Coulthard's rivals will overtake him in the final reckoning. Michael Schumacher should account for too many remaining points for that, but it is a possibility if the McLaren continues its calamitous plunge into habitual unreliability. …

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