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Page last updated at 15:54 GMT, Friday, 31 October 2008

Stewart praise as Coulthard exits

Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos
Practice: Friday 1200-1330 and 1600-1730 GMT Qualifying: Saturday 1600 Race: Sunday 1700 Coverage: BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Sport website and ITV1

David Coulthard in action during practice for the Brazilian GP
Coulthard has been racing in Formula One since 1994

Sir Jackie Stewart believes fellow Scot David Coulthard can be very proud of his Formula One career.

The 37-year-old retires on Sunday after the Brazilian Grand Prix, having claimed 13 race wins over 15 seasons.

"For a wee country we've produced some remarkable drivers and David is high amongst those," three-time world champion Stewart told BBC Sport.

"He's a highly talented man and was unlucky not to win the title, he certainly had all the skills to do it."

Coulthard was runner-up to seven-time champion Michael Schumacher in the 2001 season and has finished third in the title race on four occasions.

However, he has amassed just eight points this season and his last race win came in Australia in March 2003.

"The opportunities for me, at the age of 37, to win races and challenge for the championship were diminishing," said Coulthard, who announced his retirement plans at the British Grand Prix in July.

"And with Red Bull having an ideal replacement in Sebastian Vettel, it just seemed like the sensible time to be looking to the future."

He's had a glorious career and he has been a great ambassador for Scotland

Sir Jackie Stewart

Coulthard, who won the British Grand Prix in 1999 and 2000, began his F1 career in 1994, when he was promoted from his role as test driver at Williams following the death of Ayrton Senna.

He won his first race in Portugal in 1995 and moved to McLaren for 1996, where he won a further 12 races in a nine-year spell.

The Scot has been with Red Bull for the past four seasons and has agreed to stay on with the team.

"I will occasionally test the car and I'll be involved in all aspects of the young driver programme," he added. "I see no reason to go off and do something else.

"Looking back on 2004, when I said goodbye to the boys at McLaren before going off to the last race, I had tears.

"When you're not someone who is a tearful person, it came as a complete surprise to me. The guys at McLaren sort of looked away respectfully.

"It shows that I put a lot of emotion into my racing and a lot of passion for many years."

Racing legend Stewart was involved in the nurturing of Coulthard's talent when he and his son were at the helm of Paul Stewart Racing.

"We loved having him on board; that part of his career I thoroughly enjoyed," said Stewart.

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"We took him to Europe and watched him develop as a young driver. We saw him driving with the Saltire round his helmet right from the beginning.

"That, for me, is a greater memory than seeing him win a Grand Prix.

"Being there to see him win the British Grand Prix, however, was a real joy and a privilege.

"He's had a glorious career and he has been a great ambassador for Scotland. Not many Grand Prix drivers win 13 races."

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see also
Coulthard wants Grand Prix points
26 Sep 08 |  Formula One
David Coulthard
03 Jul 08 |  Drivers


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