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Montoya. Unlucky or reckless  
7 April 2001 Volume 3 - Issue 8  

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In Brazil Juan Pablo Montoya certainly demonstrated that he and his Williams car is a force to be reckoned with.

Had he finished his very fast qualifying lap instead of testing the car's ploughing ability, he could easily have started the Brazilian Grand Prix from pole. Taking into account that he ran back to jump into the T-car and still managed to qualify in 4th , he came out of it very well.

His overtaking manoeuvre on Michael Schumacher, for the lead, was nothing short of brave. There was little room to squeeze through and had Michael not sensibly backed off, both cars would have been out of the race. Two, three years ago, Michael would not have been that conservative.

To me it looked as if he threw caution to the wind in both cases. His qualifying lap was just too fast and it was inevitable that he was going to find the negative aspect of adhesion soon I guess he was hoping that he could maintain it that close to the edge for only one lap. He only survived overtaking Schumacher because Schumacher backed off to avoid a collision as it is they banged wheels, which could have ended in retirement for him or both of them.

It is ironic that he retires after a back marker (Verstappen) ran into him, probably caused by the peculiar braking pattern of the Williams (they seem to be catching almost everyone out on the approach to corners).

Having said all of that, he is undoubtedly very fast, fast enough to mix it with the leaders.

David Coulthard is consistent. It is again in the early part of the season and he is again doing far better than Hakkinen. My view is that it takes Hakkinen a long time to get used to each season's car and Coulthard consistently makes hay in the early part of the season while his team mate struggles.

He did, however, drive a brilliant race. He stayed in touch with the leaders, stayed out of trouble and when the opportunity came he seemed to drive past Schumacher with ease. He kept his cool at all times, was focused and consistent and it paid off!

A perfect race for Coulthard, with a perfect result.

Although there was no indication other than his pace I cannot help but feel that there was something wrong with Michael Schumacher's car.

He started well but was passed by Montoya on the second lap, taking advantage of his CART experience on the run down the pit straight after accelerating away from behind the pace car. It was immediately obvious that although Michael could stay in touch with the Williams of Montoya, he was never really fast enough to overtake.

That may have been because the Williams is indeed faster than the Ferrari (Barrichello and Ralf Schumacher, who could provide more information on this issue had a coming together in a, by now, typical Williams braking accident. Barrichello retired while Ralf ended up 4 laps down and then spun out although he did set the fastest lap time of the race) but if you add to that Michael Schumacher's inability to keep Coulthard behind him in the rain it does look as if his Ferrari was not up to scratch.

Schumacher tried hard but the harder he tried the more time he lost negotiating the kitty litter. Something was not right.

Frentzen spent a considerable time in third place before retiring.

I am always amazed at Frentzen's ability to drive so fast without attracting attention. He is almost always in the points and frequently just misses a podium finish.

I think that Heidfeld must have been surprised to get onto the podium, albeit a lap behind Coulthard and Schumacher who were the only drivers on the leading lap.

Fisichella even made it into the points, which says a lot about the attrition of the faster cars as the Benetton is totally off the pace this year.

There are now three teams in the hunt for the championship. Williams have arrived with a bang and could be the fastest team by the end of the season.

The Honda powered BAR and Jordan seem to be losing ground. They are certainly not improving at the rate I predicted earlier in the season.

Their overall package is not fast enough to be competitive and they are improving slower that the teams ahead of them. Not a promising situation.

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