It is a measure of David Coulthard's (DC) superb contribution to the McLaren F1 story that he won all-but-one of his Grand Prix victories for the Woking team and stormed to a memorable second place in the 2001 world championship behind Michael Schumacher. It is also worth emphasising that David’s time with McLaren coincided with one of the team’s most competitive periods ever and the fact that the genial Scot spent much of that time having to measure himself against a formidable team-mate like Mika Hakkinen only served to enhance the quality of the Scot’s achievement.
Coulthard cut his racing teeth on karts which he began racing at the age of eight, then climbed the single seater ladder through the junior formulae with thee blue riband Paul Stewart Racing organisation. For the 1994 season he was appointed official test driver for the Williams-Renault squad and found himself pitchforked into a race seat alongside Damon Hill after the tragic death of Ayrton Senna in that year’s San Marino GP.
In 1995 he remained with Williams, winning his maiden GP in fine style at Estoril, but then switched to McLaren-Mercedes alongside Hakkinen for 1996. David scored his first win for McLaren in Melbourne at the start of 1997 and, on his day, could be said to have had the legs of everybody on the starting grid. He was also hugely popular with the McLaren personnel, radiating an easy charm and giving the lie to the old racing adage that nice guys can’t be winners.