Dennis pays tribute to DC

McLaren boss Ron Dennis has paid tribute to driver David Coulthard who leaves the team after a partnership that has lasted nine years. Interlagos was Coulthard's 150th GP with McLaren, during which time he has scored 12 victories, 51 podiums and 412 points.

Dennis pays tribute to DC

Coulthard's final race for the team looked poor, especially with Kimi Raikkonen pushing so hard for the win in the other McLaren, but the Scot's race was compromised by indecision over tyres at the start. Going to the grid, Coulthard was on dry tyres and found precious little grip. He therefore asked for intermediates to be bolted on. With no serious rain falling in the intervening period before the grid was cleared, he changed his mind, and switched back to dry tyres, taking the same gamble as the Renault drivers.

Coulthard has always been one of the quickest drivers on a wet or greasy track, but his task was made doubly difficult because the tyres that went back on the McLaren were cold, rather than fresh from the tyre blankets as was the case with the Renault drivers. That, in part, explains the performance disparity between Coulthard and Alonso, who was into the lead of the race by lap eight as the surface dried.

"I lost a lot of places in the first couple of corners with cars pushing, touching and wheels banging," DC explained. "Once everything had settled down, I was too far back to make an impact."

Dennis said of Coulthard: "David's results in the car are a matter of record and I think the most impressive statistic is that in every third race, he's been on the podium since joining the team - that's a pretty incredible achievement.

"It's also very apparent to anyone who has any dealings with him that he's a gentleman. That gives him the quality of being a fantastic ambassador to our team and to the sport as a whole. If you look back on his years with us, I think I can count on one hand the times I've seen him annoyed and I can't remember him ever losing his temper. He's a tremendously talented all-round, well-rounded racing driver."

Coulthard, still just 33, has reiterated his intention to stay in Formula 1.

"I don't require a job in the sense that we tend to need one to put food on the table," he said. "I'm fortunate that that's not the motivation. The motivation is that I enjoy racing and it has been some time since I've gone into a winter without having a contract in place. Time will tell whether I will manage to achieve that and, if I don't, I've got a desire to continue being involved in F1 in some capacity. Because, quite frankly, I enjoy it. Why go off and do something else just because you can?

"There's no point talking about other things I might do until I find out whether there's any opportunity to go racing. That's the primary goal."

Coulthard is still pushing for a return to Williams, which he left in 2005, and if there is a requirement for teams to run third cars in 2005, his name would logically be high on many lists.

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