Italian GP maiden win for Juan Pablo Montoya

By Erica Southey - Motorsport.com It was a very subdued day overall at Monza despite exciting racing. No celebrations and no champagne ceremony. Sad news reached the paddock of Alessandro Zanardi, an ex Williams driver who lost both legs after a...

By Erica Southey - Motorsport.com

It was a very subdued day overall at Monza despite exciting racing. No celebrations and no champagne ceremony. Sad news reached the paddock of Alessandro Zanardi, an ex Williams driver who lost both legs after a horroric crash in CART at Lausitz, Germany

At one stage it was unclear if there was going to be a race. The drivers were unhappy about racing on the revised track, with Michael and Ralf Schumacher at the forefront of this feeling. However, Jacques Villeneuve said that he was going to race regardless what others did. With each red light and the adrenaline pumping, the race got underway.

The day belonged to Juan Pablo Montoya who won his first Grand Prix for himself and Colombia. This time round, his pitstops worked out well and the Michellin tyres went the distance. Montoya had Michael breathing down his gearbox, but Montoya didn't allow himself to be pressurized. He kept his cool and focused on the task ahead. Rubens Barrichello who was clearly in the faster car pushed all the way. He had a disastrous pitstop which put an end to any hopes of a win. The fuel rig had to be changed and it robbed Barrichello of precious time.

Jarno Trulli's race was over before it even started. His new teammate to be, Jenson Button tapped him and he spun around losing valuable places before retiring. Button later retired with a blown engine. Jean Alesi had a great day attacking and passing drivers ahead of him, but ended one place out of the points. Villeneuve did his best and was rewarded with one point for his effort.

Where Tomas Enge in his debut managed to finish the race, Alex Yoong in the Minardi finally succumbed to the gravel after he spun out.

Monza claimed quite a few cars. Her biggest prize were the McLarens of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard. Hakkinen's McLaren ran out of power and he was forced to retire while Coulthard's car spew smoke announcing a blown engine. Hakkinen explains the reason for his retirement: "Looks like gearbox gave up." After being asked about his taking a break from a disastrous season in F1 he responded: "Yeah, sure this is one of the reasons to take a break, but it is not the only reason. There are many other reasons too"

Ralf who was hoping for at least a second didn't have a great weekend altogether. He went from second to fourth at one stage after his brother and Barrichello overtook him. Ralf fell back quite a bit, conserving tyres and the engine. Montoya played his cards well capitalizing on the mistake of the Ferrari pitcrew and staying focused. Things didn't go all that smooth for him. He was overtaken by Barrichello and had to fend Michael off at one stage. The turning point came for Williams, when both Ferraris made an unexpected pit stop quite early in the race. There was widespread speculation if indeed they were going to stop again, but the answer came when the pitcrew came out for both the drivers and the extra pitstop put an end to Barrichello's brilliant run which left the field wide open for Montoya. Suspicions around the paddock was, that Ferrari had a problem with their brakes and was forced to run a lighter fuel load.

Montoya came of age today dispelling dark clouds of misfortune in Formula One. His perseverance, hard work and patience were rewarded with his first win of many. Congratulations on a job well done Montoya.

Mixed feelings remain at whether some teams will indeed race at Indianapolis out of respect for the U.S. disaster. Follow Motorsport.com news headlines for updates..

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams , Minardi