David Coulthard may be enjoying his new career as a Formula One pundit, but today marks ten years since his final victory in the sport.
The 2013 Australian Grand Prix may still be eight days away, but the 2003 season’s earlier start was unsurprisingly welcomed by the fans. With the race coming mid-way through the era of Ferrari dominance, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello locked out the front row ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya and Heinz-Harald Frentzen, and Coulthard started a lowly eleventh. The changeable conditions meant that many drivers had to decide whether to fit intermediate or dry tires, which, in addition to Barrichello’s jump start, allowed Coulthard to fight his way through the field.
After a safety car period bunched the field, Schumacher tussled with McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen, and the two collided meaning that the defending world champion limped home in fourth place. This was his first finish off the podium since the Italian Grand Prix in 2001. With Barrichello retiring earlier on in the race, it was Ferrari’s worst result in a race since the turn of the century.
At the front, Williams’ Juan Pablo Montoya appeared to have the race all sewn up, but a spin allowed David Coulthard to pass him with eight laps remaining, and the McLaren driver held on to win the race by eight seconds. It foreshadowed a very close season in which Ferrari were pushed by Williams and McLaren to the final race. Although Coulthard could not continue this good form, he did score one more podium in 2003 at the final race in Japan.
Coulthard went on to complete one more season with McLaren before moving to Red Bull, where he spent a further four years before hanging up his helmet at the end of 2008.