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  Wednesday, 17 April, 2002, 09:26 GMT 10:26 UK
Coulthard dismisses Button challenge
David Coulthard
Coulthard has fought an uphill struggle all season
David Coulthard says Jenson Button is not about to overtake him as Britain's top driver.

The 31-year-old Scot saw his rival finish ahead of him at the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola on Sunday.

Button picked up a further two points for his Renault team by finishing in fifth place - the third race in a row he has finished in the points.

  Points standings
1: Michael Schumacher 34
2: Ralf Schumacher 20
3: Juan Pablo Montoya 17
4: Jenson Button 8
5: Rubens Barrichello 6
6: David Coulthard 5

It helped him extend his lead over McLaren's Coulthard to three points in the battle to finish as top Brit.

But Coulthard believes Button and his Renault team are unlikely to repeat the feat too often this season.

"They beat us but they were not that close to us in qualifying and they have only done it in one race out of four," said Coulthard, who failed to finish the first two races of the season.

"I don't know if you can call that serious competition.

"I am not trying to belittle their performance because maybe during the course of the next 13 races they will be stronger than us. But one swallow does not make a summer.

"Credit where it's due. Jenson drove a good race, but I believe he had a quicker car otherwise I would be in the wrong business."

Jenson Button
Button has proved many people wrong already

Coulthard, who was expecting to compete for the drivers' crown this year, finds himself 29 points behind leader Michael Schumacher.

He even experienced the ignominy of being lapped by the German in race four of the 2002 season.

And he sounded unconvinced that there is any way of stopping the Italian team.

"There is no reason to expect Ferrari will be any weaker than this at any particular race unless Bridgestone struggle with the tyres," said Coulthard.

"It's pretty grim news. But there is no point burying your head in the sand. We have got to face reality and keep working."

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