David Coulthard Sumar
David had a very successful career in Karts, then graduated to Formula Ford in 1989, where he drove so well, that he won the first ever McLaren/Autosport Young Driver of the Year award. The prize just happened to be his first ever drive in a Formula One car. He made short work of the junior categories after that, even after missing several races due to a broken leg received in an accident at Spa in 1990. His reputation received a major boost in 1991, by winning
both the International Formula Three races at Zandvoort, and Macau.
He finished 9th overall in Formula 3000 in 1992 for Paul Stewart Racing and third overall in 93. His greatest success for that year was his role as test driver for Williams, but 94 didn't bring him the drive he was hoping for, so he planned to continue in F3000, and test-driving. Tragedy stepped in though, and Sennas' death at Imola in 94 saw him move into the Williams team as a full time driver, and although he only competed in 8 races that year, he finished 8th overall.
1995 saw him continuing to drive for Williams, along side Damon Hill, winning his first Grand Prix in Portugal, beating both Michael Schumacher in the Benetton, and his own teammate. He finished third for the season with 49 points. In 1996 he switched to McLaren, partner to Mika Hakkinen, where he still remains. Although both drivers struggled to keep pace with Williams, David won the season opener in Australia 97, putting McLaren back on the winning track. Winning again in Monza, he finished equal third with Jean Alesi in the Drivers Championship.
1998 saw McLaren take the Constructors championship, but David had his share of ups and downs, winning his only race for the season at San Marino. Pit stop confusion, accidents, and the occasional mechanical problem didn't slow him too much, as he finished third overall with 56 points, behind the battle between Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen.
In 99, he once again fought gremlins, his car failing just as he started to get somewhere, but he finally saw his first win for the season at the eventful British Grand Prix. Although he continued to challenge his teammate, he ended up finishing fourth in the Drivers championship. He continued to partner double World Champion Mika Hakkinen in 2000, a season that saw him even more determined that ever before. A serious plane crash that saw the death of both pilots seemed to give the Scot a new lease on life. However, despite a very strong challenge for championship glory, he finished third in the standings.
2001 was a year plagued with reliability problems for the team and despite his gallant efforts, he just couldn't match the performance of a very dominant Michael Schumacher. Finishing second to the German, David ended the year well ahead of teammate Mika Hakkinen, who opted to announce his retirement, ending what was the longest partnership in the history of the sport.
Coulthard partnered young Kimi Raikkonen in 2002 with fresh hope that it would finally be his year to shine, but once again it wasn't to be. The McLaren charger wasn't up to par with its rivals and Coulthard was forced to settle for fifth in the championship while the Woking team slipped to third on the Constructor's ladder.
Coulthard won the first race of the 2003 season but the Scotsman had a difficult year, especially in qualifying. He finished seventh in the championship and things got little better in 2004 as he finished a distant tenth in the championship with a best result of fourth after failing to make the best of a much improved chassis from the mid-point of the season.
After no less than nine seasons with McLaren, it was all change for the Scotsman in 2005 as he joined the new Red Bull Cosworth team. After so long at McLaren, Coulthard enjoyed his new-found freedom at Red Bull and he put in a very impressive season with the squad as he racked up an impressive tally of 24 points. Showing the way to both Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi, Coulthard remains with the team in 2006 and with Ferrari engines on board and the design talents of Adrian Newey joining the team from McLaren, Coulthard's winning days may not be over just yet.
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