Montoya aiming for qualifying improvement

Juan Pablo Montoya believes he is in with just as much a chance of the title as Ralf Schumacher but says he would be ahead of his teammate if he hadn't had so much bad luck. Montoya has had three races without scoring while Schumacher has finished...

Juan Pablo Montoya believes he is in with just as much a chance of the title as Ralf Schumacher but says he would be ahead of his teammate if he hadn't had so much bad luck. Montoya has had three races without scoring while Schumacher has finished in the points every time. Although the Colombian admits Ralf may have the edge in qualifying, he thinks he has been better in the races.

Juan Pablo Montoya.
Photo by Nikki Reynolds.
"I could have won Austria and that is 10 points," said Montoya. "I would be ahead of him. You add up the races I have not finished and I should be ahead of him. In qualifying he is a bit stronger but I have been a lot more consistently at the front. I have been very unlucky. Without that bad luck I think this year would be a different story."

With only six points between them in the championship, Montoya thinks both he and Schumacher are capable of winning the title and he just needs to improve in qualifying. He doesn't believe Ralf will take the role of team leader because he is ahead.

"I think we are both capable of doing it. I think eighty per cent of the grid are capable of doing it if they have the right car. I just need to step up a level and I think the only area is qualifying because I have been quicker than him in the races. I don't see Ralf taking the team lead. We are just six points apart."

Last season Montoya scored seven pole positions and some are mystified to his drop in performance this year. Williams technical director Patrick Head thinks perhaps Ralf is able to apply himself more. "Just from my observation in the team, I think it's really just showing the different level of experience between Ralf and Juan in the car," said Head.

"Ralf seems to get his car closer to an optimum a bit quicker than Juan does during the practice sessions. I don't think it has got anything to do with the speed of the driver as such. I think it's just that difference in experience and application and knowing what to do during the practice."

"On one lap qualifying, if he's got a difficult car, it's possible that Juan will make a better job of that than Ralf. The car now, no way is it easy to drive but it's clearly more stable. We can see from the actual amount of steering movement in the car that it's a lot more stable than our car was last year. So it probably requires less sudden correction and in that situation maybe Ralf is able to go a bit closer to the limit than Juan."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Williams