Even a lost gear was not going to prevent David Coulthard from opening his and Red Bull Racing's 2007 Formula 1 account in the Spanish Grand Prix, the Scot delivering a fifth place finish on a much improved weekend for the team.

Although reliability issues have stunted Red Bull's progress this weekend, improvements to the RB3 have nonetheless seen a significant upturn in form from Coulthard in particular, the Scot getting up to seventh early on from ninth on the grid.

Utilising his new seamless-shift gearbox, retirements for Kimi Raikkonen and Nick Heidfeld moved him up to fifth and not all that far behind fourth place Robert Kubica in the latter stages.

However, when he lost third gear with only a handful of laps to go, Coulthard was forced to adapt quickly, his dramatic seven second time loss on one lap alone giving sixth place Nico Rosberg all the impetus he needed to make a bid for fifth.

Eventually though, his experience won through when he held on for four crucial points, Coulthard admitting he would rather have a quick but fragile car over a reliable but off the pace machine.

"Towards the end of the race, I lost third gear and thought I was going to have to retire the car. I managed to drive using only fourth gear and above, which lost me time in the last sector, but I was still able to be quick in the first.

"We've made more progress than any other team since the beginning of the year and when you're aggressively attacking lap times, sometimes you have to put other areas of the car to one side. That's the growing pains we're going through at Red Bull Racing at present, but I think everyone agrees we'd rather have pace and show we're genuinely quick - and then work on reliability, than have a reliable car that only finishes tenth."

Team boss Christian Horner duly paid tribute to Coulthard, praising his experience to not let his gearbox woes cause him to lose grip of a result that proves Red Bull's best since last year's Hungarian Grand Prix.

"David was exemplary today. He had good pace, a good start and a good strategy. Despite a problem that gave us all a bit of a scare in the last three laps, he found a way to drive round it by using all his experience. He was able to bring the car home in fifth position and get us onto the scoreboard."

It was Webber though that would be at the receiving end of the Red Bull's problems, the Australian getting as far as lap seven before getting a reoccurrence of the hydraulic drama that ruined his qualifying session.

"Unfortunately reliability problems cost me a race finish today. At the moment, I think it's a recurrence of yesterday's hydraulic problem. We had planned to go for a long first stint because of my low grid position, but it doesn't matter what strategy you have if you don't get to the finish.

"There's not much more to say except for the obvious fact that it's disappointing. But, at least David's great result and finish in the points proves that the car has the pace to do well. It's a great boost for the whole team."



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