Juan Pablo Montoya took his first Formula 1 Grand Prix victory today in the Italian Grand Prix at the historic Monza in only his 14th G.P. start. In doing so, Montoya, who took his Skip Barber Three Day Racing School at Sears Point in 1991,...
Juan Pablo Montoya took his first Formula 1 Grand Prix victory today in the Italian Grand Prix at the historic Monza in only his 14th G.P. start. In doing so, Montoya, who took his Skip Barber Three Day Racing School at Sears Point in 1991, becomes the first Skip Barber graduate to win an FIA Formula One Grand Prix.
"I'm so happy," said Montoya immediately after the race. "Thanks to the Williams team, BMW and Michelin. They've done a fantastic job."
Montoya captured his third pole in four starts (German G.P., Belgian G.P) on Saturday in his Michelin-shod Williams. As a result he led at the start, fending off the crowd favorite Ferraris of Rubens Barrichello and World Champion elect Michael Schumacher as well as his own Williams teammate Ralf Schumacher. Montoya held the lead through the opening laps until an apparent miscue at the exit of the second Lesmo corner allowed Barrichello to assume the lead. However a steady drive and better fuel stop strategy ensured the Montoya would assume the lead with a handful of laps remaining. In doing so, Montoya paced the fastest race in Italian Grand Prix history with an average race speed nearly exceeding 150 mph. The Italian Grand Prix along with the British and the French editions is among the oldest of Grands Prix.
Montoya raced in the Barber Pro Series in 1994 where he garnered two race victories including his professional debut at Miami in the opening race of the season. His second victory came at Mid-Ohio in August of the same year. Montoya also scored one pole and 114 points in 13 starts to finish that year's series third overall.
The former CART FedEx Series Champion and Indianapolis 500 winner next follows the F1circus to Indianapolis for the United States Grand Prix.
"The last time I was there, I won in my first try," said Montoya referring to last year's Indy 500 victory. "I'm looking forward to it as our car should do very well there."
Skip Barber himself made three Formula One starts in 1971 and '72. The Skip Barber Racing School was founded in 1975.