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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 August, 2003, 16:07 GMT 17:07 UK
Coulthard: I am staying at McLaren
David Coulthard celebrates on the German GP podium with Juan Pablo Montoya
Coulthard (left) is working hard to improve his qualifying
David Coulthard has insisted he will be a McLaren driver next year despite the team attempting to grab Juan Pablo Montoya from Williams.

Coulthard's future was the subject of great speculation at the German Grand Prix after the BBC Sport website revealed McLaren wanted to replace him with the Colombian.

Williams have admitted McLaren are after Montoya but insist Montoya is under contract for next season.

Asked if he had a contract at McLaren for 2004, Coulthard said: "Yes. It's just speculation. There are obviously rumours about 2005 - but that's 2005."

Negotiations about Montoya's future continued throughout the German Grand Prix weekend and McLaren boss Ron Dennis refused to confirm Coulthard's place in the team at a news conference.

"These are our drivers here," Dennis said, pointing to Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard.

"It's very clear in black and white.

"We know where we are going, when we're going to do it. Before that, there will be no dialogue about any of our drivers. I have nothing to say about our drivers except here they are today."

Coulthard said: "This weekend has brought to a head a lot of speculation and rumour. McLaren made a reasonable step towards removing any doubt."

David Coulthard raced well on his way to second place at Hockenheim
It's been a difficult season for me, not because of our car but because of my performances in qualifying
David Coulthard
Coulthard admitted he was relieved to be back on the podium after a string of poor results.

The Scot finished second at Hockenheim to Montoya.

Coulthard said: "I am delighted to be back on the podium - it is a long time since Melbourne (and his victory in the first race of the year).

"It's been a difficult season for me, not because of our car but because of my performances in qualifying.

"That's my focus in the last four races - to improve in that area. I'm looking for a strong end to the season.

"Every weekend I have something to prove. You have to earn your place in F1 on merit.

"My race pace and ability to go wheel-to-wheel [with other cars] are not questioned.

"The support from [McLaren managing director] Martin Whitmarsh, Ron [Dennis, boss of McLaren] and Norbert Haug [Mercedes sporting director] over difficult times is appreciated.

"They are demanding individuals, with high expectations. Given my difficulties in qualifying, it would have been easy for them to compound this problem, adding additional pressure."

Coulthard moved up to second at Hockenheim after Michael Schumacher suffered a late-race puncture shortly after both men had passed Jarno Trulli's Renault.

"My car was well balanced for most of the race and I could conserve my tyres, so when Michael and Jarno got problems with their tyres I was able to attack," Coulthard said.

"I attempted to make the same manoeuvre on Jarno as Michael had but ran a little too wide at the hairpin.

"However I managed to get past at the Mercedes grandstand when he made a mistake. I want to build on this result and look forward to the next race in three weeks' time."




GERMAN GRAND PRIX

MONTOYA ENTERS TITLE RACE

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