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Sunday, 22 October, 2000, 15:49 GMT
Coulthard sorry for Schumacher blasts
Michael Schumacher (left) and David Coulthard
Friends again - Coulthard regrets his criticisms
McLaren driver David Coulthard has apologised to Michael Schumacher for their tempestuous off-track relationship this year.

Coulthard has criticised Schumacher's driving on a number of occasions, particularly the German's behaviour at the starts of races.

But after finishing second to Ferrari's new world champion in the season's final race in Malayasia on Sunday, Coulthard admitted that he had said sorry to his rival.

"I apologised to Michael for the year," Coulthard said. "We had some differences and I am embarrassed because maybe I was saying things too publicly and not just going to see him.


I am happy David came to talk to me about what has happened in the past and the way he sees things. It shows how good a bloke he is
  Michael Schumacher

"I told him he was a great champion and said I looked forward to racing him again next season.

"I didn't want to give him an advantage by doing it before the weekend, but I wanted to clear the air. Next time there are any problems, I will go to see him rather than talking to the media first."

But Coulthard made it clear he was not withdrawing the opinions he had offered on Schumacher's driving, only the means by which he had expressed them.

"It's not a retraction of some of the comments I had on his driving standards, all it is is an acceptance that if you have a problem you should talk to somebody face to face," he said.

Schumacher said: "I am happy he came to talk to me about what has happened in the past and the way he sees things.

"It shows how good a bloke he is and I look forward to having as good a relationship with him [in the future] as we have had in the past."

Coulthard's remarks come a week after Schumacher had attacked Coulthard and Jacques Villeneuve, his other most vociferous critic, for going public with their complaints rather than approaching him first.

"Somehow, it's always the same drivers that one has problems with, like (David) Coulthard and (Jacques) Villeneuve, for example," Schumacher told a German newspaper.

"It's no secret. They all talk and talk and talk all day but never say anything to my face. It's surprising but there's nothing I can do to change it."

Schumacher and Coulthard have had a number of run-ins over the past two years.

Anger

They collided while battling for the lead of the 1998 Argentinian Grand Prix. Then Schumacher accused Coulthard of deliberately taking him out of that year's Belgian race - the Ferrari ran into the back of the McLaren in zero visibility in the rain.

Last year, Schumacher was not impressed by an aggressive manoeuvre by Coulthard to pass him in Malaysia.

And in 2000, a number of rivals have criticised Schumacher's attempts to keep his rivals behind after his usual poor starts.

Coulthard was particularly angered at the French GP in June, when he gave Schumacher the finger from his car while the two were disputing the lead.

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22 Oct 00 |  Motorsport
Schumacher signs off with a win
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