Analysis: Montoya Comes Good

Juan Pablo Montoya played a high-speed game of dare on Sunday and ended up a winner

Analysis: Montoya Comes Good

After a difficult and painful start to the Formula One season, with the McLaren driver missing two races with a fractured shoulder and then falling foul of stewards, it all clicked into place.

Qualifying third on the grid, right behind Renault's Fernando Alonso on pole, the Colombian said he would try to force his way past the Championship leader at the start.

He was as good as his word. When the lights went out, Montoya barged past BAR's Jenson Button and then raced wheel to wheel with Alonso through the first corner before the Spaniard backed off.

That moment of all-out aggression defined the race. The reward was a first win of the season and a place with boyhood hero Ayrton Senna among the ranks of McLaren winners.

"If we were going to go side-by-side into Becketts, either one of us was going to back off or we were going to go off," said Montoya.

"The chances were that he (Alonso) was going to back off before me. He's going to fight for the Championship, I wasn't. I just wanted to win the race.

"It was just enough. It was pretty close," added the Colombian. "I thought we were going to touch."

Troubled Start

Montoya joined McLaren from Williams as a race winner and potential champion, a rival as well as teammate to Finland's Kimi Raikkonen.

Yet while Raikkonen has won three races and is Alonso's closest challenger, the Colombian had a troubled start.

He fractured his shoulder playing tennis in March, although rumours persisted that he had fallen off a motorbike, and missed Bahrain and San Marino.

Pain in Spain, from the injury, was followed by punishment in Monaco when he was sent to the back of the grid for causing an avoidable accident by slowing in practice on a high-speed part of the circuit.

In Canada, he was disqualified for leaving the pitlane under a red light and the Colombian did not race in the US Grand Prix after the seven Michelin-equipped teams withdrew for tyre safety reasons.

"I know I can win races and everything but it's been such a frustrating season," Montoya said.

"I crossed the line and I was excited but it was 'aaah' more than anything," he added, an expressive sigh summing up his relief.

"We've been changing the car a lot. Kimi's driving style is so different to mine that anything he puts on the car, I can't drive it.

"We've been trying a lot of different things and the last few races we have definitely made a lot of progress."

Montoya said his injury had cost him more than just dropped points. A lack of testing, and McLaren introducing a new suspension while he was recovering, did not help.

"I could hardly really drive the car, I had quite a few injections to get through the pain and you're not really driving at 100 percent," he said of Spain.

"Even if you try, the pain is always there. And everything that could go wrong was going wrong...It's racing, but things like that just kept happening."

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