British Red Bull driver David Coulthard has announced he will retire from Formula One racing at the end of the season.
The 37-year-old Scot, who is currently 12th in the Drivers’ Championship with six points, told of his decision ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone, which will be his 237th start.
Coulthard made his debut with the Williams team in 1994 before joining McLaren two years later. He remained with them for nine years before switching to Red Bull in 2005.
A costly mistake in the pits snatched victory from the grasp of Lewis Hamilton in Sunday’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
However, he took the blame for the blunder while finishing in third place after jumping the gun in the pit lane on the 16th lap.
He admitted, “I selected first gear and was ready to go. I thought I saw the lollipop move a little bit but I was maybe wrong â€” and I let the clutch out too early. You try to be as quick as you can when the lollipop goes up. I tried to anticipate it and messed it up. It lost me a lot of valuable time and I then just had to push, but I struggled with the balance. I need to step up my game and I intend to do so.”
The Ferrari of winner Kimi Raikkonen was just too fast for Hamilton, who was also beaten to second place by his McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso.
Hamilton later said, “I made the wrong decision with set-up and it really caused me problems during the race. Even in qualifying I didn’t have the pace I should have had, but it was too late by then to change the car, so I’ve learned a good lesson.”
He is still 12 points ahead in the championship table with eight races to go.
Hamilton added: “We’ve come away with a ninth podium position. I’m the most consistent driver here. I think you have to be happy with that. As a team we need to push as always, but we will try to push harder. As a driver, I am still learning. I still have time to improve through experience. I’ve raced here before but I’ve struggled in terms of pace. We must make sure we get the car set-up right, make sure we keep on moving forward and ideally beat the Ferraris.”
The next race is in Germany on Sunday week.
Lewis Hamilton has taken pole position for tomorrow’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
It will be Hamilton’s third pole in four outings and most welcome to him and the fans in his home Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton, 22, is in his first season of Formula One racing and has notched eight podium finishes in eight races. There has never been a more assured, or explosive, start to an F1 career.
Already 14 points ahead in the drivers’ championship, a win tomorrow would give him an enviable position from which to grab the World Championship at his first attempt.
Such is the success of Lewis Hamilton in winning both North American Grand Prix, after a string of podium finishes in his first season in Formula One, the commentators are forecasting “Lewismania” at Silverstone in early July.
He has already been likened to “a cross between Ayton Senna and Alain Prost” and remains the one to beat in Sunday’s French Grand Prix.
With a 10-point advantage over McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso, Hamilton is sure to start his home GP as leader in the Drivers’ Championship whatever the result in France. One British newspaper says, “He is the hottest ticket not only in motor sport, but arguably in any sport”.
Given the notorious lack of reliability of British sportsmen over the years, one might expect Hamilton to buckle under the weight of expectation. Somehow, though, we know he won’t. Temperament is everything at the top level, and those comparisons with Senna and Prost — two drivers known as Sr. and M. Cool — we expect Hamilton to sail through his biggest test yet.
Team boss Ron Dennis is well aware of his role : “It’s a new experience for all of us.I’m just trying to use common sense to make sure we handle everything the right way. We’ve all had a bit of skirmish in the early races. … They [Alonso and Hamilton] have to be extra careful how they talk about each other in the press. We want to be thinking about what a great achievement this is rather than waiting to put the next fire out.”
Hamilton was at Silverstone this week where the team will have three days of testing ahead of the two back-to-back GPs in France and Britain.
Dennis said, “It is going to be a great season for us. They will have every opportunity to compete. It’s stressful but manageable. Alonso is behind but in the fortunate position of being in a car that can win.”