Coulthard: I'm retiring because I don’t want to end up like Damon

David Coulthard, who drives in his last British Grand Prix today, has revealed that he made his decision to retire to avoid ending up in mental turmoil 'like Damon Hill'.

The Scot, 37, who will end a glittering career in Formula One after 247 races in Brazil in October, said: 'I remember seeing Damon with his head in his hands at Hockenheim in 1999 talking to himself, saying he couldn't do it any more.

David Coulthard

Final year: Red Bull's David Coulthard

'I really felt for him and wanted, somehow, to help him. I vowed that I never wanted to find myself in such a position and that's why I'm going on my terms, before anyone else tells me to. 'I'll leave the sport still at the top, very comfortable with what I've achieved and with the timing of my retirement. My love for the sport remains intact.'

Coulthard, the last home winner of the British Grand Prix in both 1999 and 2000, admits it will be an emotional occasion when Silverstone stages the event for the penultimate time before losing the prestigious race to Donington Park in 2010.

'My proudest moments have been at Silverstone,' he added. 'I love it here. It's motor sport's equivalent of Wembley Stadium. I know I'm going to be really sad after the race. It's been a privilege and an honour to have been a professional sportsman, something I didn't appreciate so much when I was younger. Now I've almost reached the end, I do.'

Coulthard, 11th on the grid after a wind-buffeted qualifying session, decided to quit after Malaysia in March, the second event on F1's 18- race calendar. Only fiancée Karen Minier and a handful of family and close friends were aware of his intentions.

'Karen was the first person I told,' he added. 'She backs me up all the time but maybe, when the season's over, she'll admit how worried she's been on race days.

'At the moment, she's being the supportive partner, but I know how uncomfortable she felt when I crashed in Monaco out of sight, and the radio went off for a while. It reminded us all how the sport remains very dangerous. I had to keep the disappointment at mucking up my last ever Monaco GP to myself.'

The Scot, fourth in the alltime list of points scorers with 533 after 13 grands prix wins, will become a BBC F1 pundit next year and has one wish for his final British race.

'My biggest concern is that I don't get to finish because of a crash at the first corner, or engine failure. I'm looking for a good day and that means winning a point.'

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