Tiago Monteiro had hoped to get off to a good start in Sunday afternoon's Italian Grand Prix - an exercise in which the Portuguese driver normally excels at, picking up several places into the first turn, while doing everything in his power to...
Tiago Monteiro had hoped to get off to a good start in Sunday afternoon's Italian Grand Prix - an exercise in which the Portuguese driver normally excels at, picking up several places into the first turn, while doing everything in his power to keep well away from any on track scuffles.
The Jordan driver put his plan into action perfectly, however it didn't turn out as planned as there was very little Tiago could do about the performance of his Bridgestone tyres that forced him to drive defensively throughout the entire 53 lap event. Consequently, his objective was simple, to beat his teammate and both Minardi drivers.
All the Bridgestone drivers suffered from the same problem and Tiago was forced to pit a lot earlier than originally planned. Once in the pits, a Bridgestone technician recommended that he take it easy for safety reasons...
"Monza is a very fast circuit which does not allow any degree of risk taking," explained the Jordan driver. "We thought we had progressed on the side of the tyres, but in fact we took a step back. The result from Ferrari shows that things turned sour on the tyre side of things with Michael finishing all the way down in 10th place."
"In my race, I had a good start and positioned myself behind Pizzonia, but I quickly felt some enormous vibrations and the back of the car was stepping out in the corners. I looked in my rear view mirrors and noted some worrying marks on the tyres. I therefore returned to the pits early so that the team could check that there was no danger."
To top it off, Tiago lost part of his bodywork at the time of its first pit stop, following an unfortunate mistake from one of his mechanics. The Jordan driver quickly adapted to the situation however. "This problem did not really influence my race, but in order to finish I had to take some risks."
Up to 15th position before his stop, Tiago then fell back three places when he returned to the track, but fought back to eventually finish the race in 17th place. "After that I had to find a rhythm which enabled me to complete the last 30 laps so that I could see the chequered flag for the 15th time this season."
After the race, Bridgestone formulated excuses for Tiago, but the Portuguese driver is now worried about what awaits next weekend at the Belgian GP. "My favourite circuit. I have never raced there in F1 but it must be spectacular," he smiled. Once again Tiago will use the new EJ15B, and with aerodynamic improvements it should be more effective on the Spa Francorchamps circuit.