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Coulthard: Smash was wheel close call.

DAVID COULTHARD last night admitted he was lucky to walk away unhurt after one of the most spectacular crashes of his career.

The Scot was careering down the fastest part of the Monaco street circuit during qualifying for today's Grand Prix when he slammed into a wall at 175mph.

His right rear wheel flew off and rolled down the track but the front tyre stayed attached despite bouncing off the 37-year-old's helmet at one point.

It was a frightening moment for the two-time Monaco winner whose Red Bull car came skidding to a halt in the run-off area.

Amazingly Coulthard escaped with just a sore head and elbow and will start 10th on the grid if his team's mechanics can repair the damage - there being no room for spare cars at Monaco.

He said: "That was one of the biggest hits of my career. After the first impact I wished I was anywhere else than in a race car.

"I lost control when I hit the brakes. What's strange is I've braked there many times and never had that situation but I have to accept maybe today it was one step too far.

"The big thing was missing the end of the barrier which I had no control over. You don't take a lot of speed off so I was lucky to go down the escape route.

"And it's a lot to ask the wheel to stay attached in circumstances like that so I'm lucky.We should rejoice that F1 is as strong and safe as it is today."

Pole position was claimed by Felipe Massa with the Brazilian's Ferrari nicking first place from team-mate Kimi Raikkonen to leave Britain's Lewis Hamilton third in his McLaren.


Great escape: David Coulthard was lucky to walk away unhurt after smashing his Red Bull into a wall during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 25, 2008
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