Saturday May 26th, 2001
David Coulthard remained cautious despite spectacularly clinching his second pole position of the season in the dying moments of qualifying for Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix.
The Scot, lying four points behind Championship leader Michael Schumacher, jumped from third to first position in his final attempt smashing the track's record with a time of 1:17.430, almost a second faster than the previous time, set by Heinz-Harald Frentzen in 1997.
Coulthard was pleased with his performance, but the McLaren driver refused to get carried away.
"I'm delighted and satisfied with our performance today and despite all pole positions being important, at Monaco its essential because its so difficult to overtake," Coulthard said. "I was able to avoid traffic and the front end was working well which allowed me to really hit the apex of the corners.
"At the end, I had to wait to hear whether Mika or Michael Schumacher was going quicker and when I heard on the radio that I had pole it was great. However now we need to focus on the race because that is where the points can be won."
McLaren's two times champion Mika Hakkinen, who won in his adopted home town in 1998 but has not tasted victory anywhere since August last year, boosted his hopes with the third fastest time of 1:17.749.
The Finn has taken just four points so far this season but, after dominating practice, looks set to increase that haul significantly this weekend.
"We can be very optimistic for tomorrow's Grand Prix," he said. "I believe we are going to be consistent and very quick as long as we are patient. I'm a bit disappointed because I didn't get pole position and I think we could have had an all West McLaren Mercedes front row today.
"We made a few changes to the car for my last run, which obviously didn't achieve what we wanted and I had a lot of understeer at the Rascasse and was unable to improve my time."