F-1 Newsline: Thursday

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With just four points this season, two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen knows he needs a good race, and he needs one soon.

Hakkinen, who says he spends more time answering questions about retirement rumors than he does about race setup, may find his winning ways again in Barcelona, where he has won three-straight Grands Prix of Spain.

Heading into the fifth round of the 2001 Formula One season, it's Hakkinen who seems to be the No. 2 driver at McLaren, with teammate David Coulthard tied for the championship lead.

"The results so far this year have not been ideal for me, however the championship is still a very open situation," Hakkinen said. "No one is too far ahead and there are still plenty of points to be scored. I have a successful record at Barcelona, having won the past three races, and I am hoping to extend that sequence season."

On the other side of McLaren’s fence, Coulthard intends to capitalize on the consistency and competitiveness of both himself and the MP4-16.

"I am looking forward to the Spanish Grand Prix, where I'll be hoping to build on the results achieved so far this season in order to maintain my position in the drivers' world championship," said Coulthard, who has finished runner-up to Hakkinen in the past three Grands Prix of Spain. "We test regularly at the circuit so we know it well, it's fairly technical with a good mix of corners and straights."


Ralf: 'We still have some work to do'

Williams driver Ralf Schumacher is remaining low-key about his chances for a followup win in Barcelona this weekend.

His San Marino Grand Prix win was his first win in 70 attempts and he certainly proved in Imola that you don't need traction control to make a good start. He got the drop on David Coulthard, who admittedly did not push him off the track as others might have done, and went on to lead until the checkered flag.

"Barcelona is a combination of fast and slow corners so it is quite interesting and demanding," Schumacher said. "The tire wear can be a problem there. Last year I finished fourth and in 1999 fifth, so this shows that normally it is a circuit that suits me."

With his Williams team third in the constructor’s standings and himself fourth in the driver points standings, Schumacher said he’s not quite sure where the team stands.

"It is difficult to predict where we are standing, because we had some very good tests there and then others that were not so promising," Schumacher said. "We still have some work to do to improve our traction control. All in all we just have to wait and see what will happen."

Teammate Juan Pablo Montoya won an F3000 race at the Barcelona track before, but the Colombian is just hoping to get his first finish of the season.

"Barcelona has been a good track for me so far," Montoya said. "I have raced there before in 1998 in Formula 3000 and I won. We just have to see what happens now. I think it will be quite a tough race to be honest. During testing in the beginning in December and January we were really strong there, but for the last few tests we have done the car doesn't seem to have been working quite as well.

"I am sure when we get there we will figure it out and hopefully be competitive. It will be quite interesting. For me I am really looking forward to getting to the end of a race to score some points."

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