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Atlas F1 News Service, a Reuters report

Coulthard Insists Schumacher Can be Caught

Monday June 19th, 2000

McLaren driver David Coulthard insists runaway world championship leader Michael Schumacher can be caught in the remaining nine races.

"We still have half the season to race and I intend to battle all the way," said Coulthard after finishing only seventh in Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix.

The Briton was penalised for stalling his engine before the formation lap got underway. He was forced to serve a 10-second stint in the pits after his mechanics were late in leaving the grid after his car was restarted.

Schumacher took full advantage, the German double world champion securing a victory that extended his championship advantage to 22 points.

However, Coulthard has not given up hope of catching the Ferrari driver, who secured his 40th win in Formula One in Montreal.

The Scot blamed himself for the stalled engine but insisted his team were also at fault after he came into the pits to change tyres on lap 43.

"I was the biggest culprit for stalling the engine but it was unfortunate as I thought I was definitely quicker than Schumacher.

"It's a real shame because the incident didn't affect the start of the race but rules are rules and you have to abide by them."

Coulthard survived a spin after a collision with the Arrows of Dutchman Jos Verstappen but any chance of a points-scoring finish was ended by the pit-stop.

"I could tell that the heavy rain was coming and I said something over the radio when I was going around the hairpin before my pit-stop.

"But I didn't say anything else until it was too late and we should have put wet tyres on the car.

"As a team we didn't do our job correctly and that is the most disappointing thing."

The next chance for McLaren to redeem the situation comes at the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours on July 2, and Coulthard acknowledged he must make up points on his German rival to keep his title hopes alive.

"We are now in the same position as we were before (the Monaco GP at) Monte Carlo and although we are disappointed we must put the pressure on Michael.

"We have to look towards Magny-Cours and put this (Montreal) race behind us. The championship is not over yet and although we cannot change what happened in Canada, we can try to close the gap."