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Last Updated: Monday, 2 June, 2003, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Coulthard predicts close race
Winner Juan Pablo Montoya (left), third placed Michael Schumacher (centre) and runner-up Kimi Raikkonen spray the champagne after Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix
The top three celebrate on the podium in Monaco
McLaren's David Coulthard believes the Formula One world championship could still be won by any one of a number of drivers - and insists he is one of them.

"The title is wide open and no-one is dominant at the moment," said the Scot, one of five different winners in the seven races so far.

"A win suddenly brings you back into it, but at the moment I am not getting enough from my results to make an impact. I am going backwards relative to the championship leaders.

"It just hasn't clicked for me. It is not a question of trying to redo what I am doing, but getting it right in qualifying. It is not like I am being outpaced and outraced.

"I need to get some real bankers in qualifying in Canada and take it from there. I have had a few weak sessions now."

World champion Michael Schumacher, who could only manage third place in Monaco, backed Coulthard's view that the title is up for grabs.

David Coulthard believes he can still win the F1 title
Williams clearly deserved the victory in Monaco but they didn't blow everyone else into the weeds
David Coulthard

The German, who wrapped up last year's championship in 11 races, said: "The competition is very close this year. The fight is going to be a bit tougher than last year."

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said the closeness of the championship was down to Ferrari's rivals improving rather than the new rules.

"It just means that the other teams have got going again," he said.

"When they're on the track, one behind the other, it's nothing to do with rules."

Coulthard said Montoya's Monaco victory was not necessarily a sign that Williams would now become the leading force in F1.

"It was a strategy win, so I really don't think it changes anything a great deal. Montoya came close to winning the race in Melbourne and he just managed to get it right this time."

Michael Schumacher inspects Juan Pablo Montoya's winning Williams after the Monaco Grand Prix
Schumacher ponders his defeat and losing ground in the title chase

"Williams clearly deserved the victory in Monaco but they didn't blow everyone else into the weeds," Coulthard said.

McLaren boss Ron Dennis added that the next race is Canada will be difficult for his team because their Mercedes engine lacks the power of Ferrari or Williams' BMW.

"We know Canada is going to be very tough for us," he said.

McLaren are the only one of the top three teams who have yet to introduce their new car, but Canada could be the swansong for the old machine.

Dennis reiterated the McLaren stance that they aim to introduce the 2003 car at the European Grand Prix at the Nuerburgring on 29 June, the race after Canada.

Coulthard will test the new car for the first time at Barcelona this week.







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