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Coulthard optimistic about points lead defence 20 Mar 2003

David Coulthard (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/17D leaves the pit garage.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 7 March 2003

David Coulthard believes that he can leave Malaysia still in the lead of the world championship.

"I think my chances of that are reasonable," the Scot said in Sepang today. "The law of averages says the Ferraris can't keep finishing Grands Prix all the time. I think they still have the pace to be the fastest guys in qualifying, and therefore in the race. There are aspects about tyre performance that I can't quantify until we start running tomorrow, and I think you'd be a brave man going into the weekend betting against Ferraris setting the pace.

"But a podium would be a good result. Obviously a win would be nice, aim for the top. But to get podiums early in the season is invaluable, because it builds confidence in the team and gives everyone a little boost."

Reacting to Michael Schumacher's dismissal of his Melbourne victory, he added: "Well, I can hold my head a bit higher than he can with some of his victories he's had, when a team-mate has had to pull over and give him the win, and he's had to stand there spraying the champagne. I don't have to feel embarrassed by that. It's an inevitable thing for Michael to say, really, just as it's inevitable that is my response!"