Though he insists he is not one to 'reminisce a great deal', David Coulthard has been reflecting on the highs, lows and changes of his 15-year Formula 1 career – and admits that he might miss the 'adrenaline rush' of sitting on the starting grid when the 2008 campaign gets into gear in Melbourne in March.
The Scot – fourth on the overall list for both number of grand prix starts and points registered – has staked his claim to a place in F1 history by becoming the most successful British driver of all time over the past decade-and-a-half. He has done that by notching up 13 grand prix victories – two of which were on home soil at Silverstone in 1999 and 2000 – twelve pole positions, 18 fastest laps, 62 podium finishes, five top three championship placings and a staggering 535 points.
Though it all ended on a sad note when he was tagged into a spin on only the opening lap of last weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, the Twynholm-born ace maintains he has no regrets and has thoroughly 'enjoyed the journey'.
“I'm not really someone who reminisces a great deal,” he confessed in an interview with BBC Radio Scotland's Sports Weekly
programme. “I certainly don't talk about the 'good old days', because I think I'm living those now.
“I've been asked a lot of questions about favourite moments of my career or how did I feel when I started in '94, but it was so long ago I don't really remember the details of it. I've just been enjoying the journey.
“There are a couple of races that really stand out in my mind. The first one was winning the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours in 2000. People will probably remember that I gave Michael Schumacher the finger, and I'm not proud of that action because it's not big or clever, but it was a race full of frustration.
“Michael had tried to push me off the circuit at the start of the grand prix and I dropped to third, and I had to battle hard to get back behind him and eventually pass him and go on to win the race. I was particularly proud of the fact I was able to control somewhat my emotions and fight back to the front.
“The other one was winning Monaco for the second time, because I led from the front. Monaco is a circuit where there is no room for error, it's almost a two-hour race, it's hot, it's physically demanding – and I was able to lead from start-to-finish. It's a track that's known to be particularly challenging for the drivers, so I think if anyone says I wasn't very good as a driver, I would always put Monaco forward as an example of where I was able to win at one of the most difficult circuits.”
The argument over just how good Coulthard was is one that the 37-year-old acknowledged had rumbled on right from when he made his debut in the top flight as a replacement for the late, great Ayrton Senna at Williams in the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona 14 years ago. Though he never went on to lift the sport's ultimate trophy – the Drivers' World Championship – 'DC' points out that for the majority of his career, F1 was dominated by just one man…the one he got the better of that summer's day in mid-France eight years ago.