Jordan rookie Tiago Monteiro strengthened his brilliant reliability record at the German Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon when he crossed the finish line in his Toyota powered Jordan for the 12th consecutive time and what made this finish even more...
Jordan rookie Tiago Monteiro strengthened his brilliant reliability record at the German Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon when he crossed the finish line in his Toyota powered Jordan for the 12th consecutive time and what made this finish even more memorable for the Portuguese driver with such phenomenal statistics for a rookie, was that it occurred on his 29th birthday!
That said however, Tiago almost didn't make it to the chequered flag as a collision with the Sauber of Jacques Villeneuve under braking sent the yellow single seater momentarily off the circuit. Once back on track Tiago made his way back to the pits to ensure that everything was okay after the incident, losing valuable time as a result.
Until the end of the race, Tiago tried as hard as he could to catch his teammate, but in the end was forced to be satisfied with 17th place.
"I gained three places at the start but there were incidents with both Barrichello and Villeneuve. Somebody ran into me and sent me into Trulli, which made me lose a lot of time and drop back to 17th place. I had opted for the outside line but it was not a good option this time."
Tiago had started the race with a heavy fuel load and his first stint should have been the longest. However, he was forced into the pits on the 14th lap...
"The engine was heating up and to provoke a higher consumption I did my first pit stop earlier than planned. It paid back though, as I passed both Albers and Karthikeyan after the first pit stop window," explains Tiago.
Then shortly before the halfway mark the most extraordinary thing happened, almost causing the Portuguese racers first retirement of the season. His Jordan Toyota was violently hit by the Sauber of Jacques Villeneuve, an incident in which the two drivers were later forced to explain to the stewards, and was eventually classed as a racing incident.
"I took exactly the same line as I did for the other 64 laps. Villeneuve was behind me and I looked in my rear view mirror and noted that he was not ready to come alongside me. The problem is that instead of plunging down the inside to try and pass me, he tried to attack from the outside. He lost control of his car and speared into me. Jacques was not alongside me, he was behind, and I was therefore very surprised to feel the contact."
Tiago remains in 14th place in the driver's championship, but is a little concerned about the closeness of some of his colleagues, who helped damage his race.
"It was a good race and my car was competitive, but I suffered from the errors of others. It is a pity. For example I had to take an extra pit stop to change a tyre, which was damaged in the incident with Villeneuve and my subsequent off track excursion. It is frustrating because I think that we had the potential to finish in the top ten which would have been a wonderful birthday present."
If you look at Tiago's 2004 season (World Series by Nissan) and his 2005 so far (Formula One), and join them together, Tiago Monteiro has finished the last 23 races he has contested!