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Atlas F1 News Service, a Reuters report
Fuel Problems Slow Coulthard

Saturday May 6th, 2000

By Phil Minshull

Fuel problems during qualifying on Saturday hindered the attempts of Britain's David Coulthard to snatch a place on the front row of the grid for the Spanish Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver finished fourth fastest, just under half-a-second behind Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, the quickest man around the Circuit de Cataluna with a lap of one minute 20.974 seconds.

"I'm very disappointed because fourth place is not a true reflection of where I've been all weekend," Coulthard said.

"I should have been a lot quicker and could have been on the pole position but for fuel pickup problems."

It was still a remarkable performance in the wake of events during the week which saw him walk away from a plane crash that killed both the pilot and co-pilot.

Alongside Schumacher on the front row for Sunday's race will be be Coulthard's McLaren team mate and reigning world champion Mika Hakkinen while third place on the grid went to the second Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello.

Coulthard said he was left with little time to resolve his fuel problems during the qualifying session.

"We had the option of switching to the reserve car, but that was set up for Mika, or to put heavier fuel in to balance the problems. However I ended up compromised on time and running slower and slower each lap," said Coulthard, winner of British Grand Prix at Silverstone two weeks ago.

"Now we are going to have a very close battle with Ferraris. It all depends on where I am at the end of the first lap. I need to make up a few places now, which I didn't want to have to do."

Coulthard is currently second in the drivers championship standings with 14 points from four races, 20 behind former double world champion Schumacher.

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