When I was just eight years old, my new hero Ayrton Senna tragically died in what became known as the darkest weekend in Formula 1 history. Of course, as I was only eight I treated his death as an emotional one and shed the odd tear or two! Then it was a case of who to support now.
Then came his replacement; the cool, calm and collected Scot that was David Coulthard. He was shunted head first into the deep end and almost confirmed potential status with a deserved win in one of the last races to be held on the Estoril track in Portugal; if not of course for the team orders gifting Damon Hill victory in his hunt for the title.
From then on DC became known as either Mr.Unlucky or the nearly man. Capable on his day of beating anyone, but inconsistent enough to never cause any major threats to the championship race. Even in his best season he came a distant second as his McLaren faltered towards the end of the season as Schumacher wrapped up the title, light years ahead of the finale.
After various years of scoring the odd win or two and finishing in the top five, he then had his downfall season at McLaren and was shipped off to Red Bull where he became a stalwart for the team, giving experience and control in a team finding their footing in the battlefield that is an F1 championship.
A podium finally came in Monaco, and was memorably celebrated in Superman style—literally! Then, just this year, he provided a standout performance in Montreal to claim a shock third, and potentially his last of many podium place finishes.
Sadly, and it pains me to say this, I feel DC has somewhat given up after announcing his retirement. Part of me doesn’t blame him; a driver successful in some eyes, a failure in others. A driver who has worked solidly for all three teams driven for, and has shown that nice guys can sometimes do well in a fierce and competitive sport.
Whether or not he has gone into lethargic mode for the resolution of the season is only something he knows. It would be inspirational to see him prove his worth and gain a few more points in his impending farewell races.
This season has come as somewhat of an anti-climax for his supporters. Out qualified in qualifying but more than a match for Mark Webber in race conditions he has somewhat struggled to deliver in his final season.
DC will always be a true legend, and a testament to commitment and determination to a sport that has written him off many a time. Let’s just hope he can go out in style.
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