‘DC’, as he is popularly known, is the most practiced driver in present-day Formula One, having won 13 races and clinched 61 podiums finishes over a span of 14 years.
Impressive performances at the International Formula 3000 got him a direct seat as test driver into the one of the most successful Constructors of the 90s, the Williams team. Here, Coulthard was alongside the likes of Damon Hill and Alain Prost, who were impeccable that season in clinching the constructors’ championship and, the latter clinching his fourth and final Drivers’ title.
It took a great tragedy for Coulthard to come up onto the forefront and become part of the racing team. In 1994, he remained test driver for the British constructor, until the death of Ayrton Senna at Imola. This prompted the squad to promote the Scot to the status of second driver, alongside Damon Hill. Hill was in the middle of a heated battle with Michael Schumacher. 1995 was a brilliant year for DC, clinching his first victory at the Portuguese GP.
He finished third in the drivers’ standings in that year, which encouraged McLaren boss Ron Dennis to draft him into a struggling outfit comprising of Mika Hakkinen as his main weapon. A new era had begun for the Woking-based team with the two drivers tipped for greatness.
Hakkinen and Coulthard took the track together for the first time in the 1996 season and started a, kind of, restoration act for the British constructor. Their first season together was not very fruitful but the following year things began to taking a turn for the better. Coulthard claimed his first-ever victory, with McLaren, in the opening race of the 1997 season at Albert Park. He followed it up with victory at Monza to finish third in the drivers’ standings behind Williams’ Jacques Villeneuve and Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher.
Hakkinen retired after a combined effort with DC helped him beat Michael Schumacher to the title. Things took a nosedive from that point forth, for Coulthard and he ended up with the Red Bull racing team in 2005. And as fate would have it, it was not to be one of his best performances.
However, most of the action was taking place behind the scenes with some astute signings most notably former McLaren technical expert Adrien Newey.
This virtually put a halt to all development work on the 2006 car but not before Coulthard managed to notch up the team’s first ever podium finish with third place in Monaco.
After a slow start to the 2007 season, Coulthard delivered two strong drives at the Bahrain Grand Prix and the Spanish Grand Prix where he picked up the team’s first points of the season.
The 2008 season will witness David Coulthard continuing to race alongside Mark Webber for the Red Bull faction. Retirement might be around the corner for the legendary Scot but for the moment, he is still going strong.
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