Backmarkers Draw Montoya's Fire at Monza

Juan Pablo Montoya blasted the backmarkers on Sunday after Ferrari's Michael Schumacher won the Italian Grand Prix to pull three points clear in the Formula One Championship.

Backmarkers Draw Montoya's Fire at Monza

Juan Pablo Montoya blasted the backmarkers on Sunday after Ferrari's Michael Schumacher won the Italian Grand Prix to pull three points clear in the Formula One Championship.

The Colombian, who finished second and has two races left to prevent the German claiming a record sixth title, said tailenders had slowed his Williams' pace when he was trying to close the gap with Schumacher's Ferrari.

"Twice I lost a lot of time and then behind the second Jordan driver I just lost so much time that I said just pace myself and get to the end," said the Colombian.

Asked whether he had faced bad driving or merely suffered the luck of the draw, he added: "Just very slow backmarkers that didn't move out of the way, put it that way. But you know, I think it would have been very hard to pass Michael anyway."

Montoya said he had lost 'about a year' behind Sauber's Heinz-Harald Frentzen, whose car happens to be powered by a Ferrari engine. Williams technical director Patrick Head also pointed his finger at the German.

"When you get down to this stage in a Championship then you should respect the people that are fighting for the Championship," he said.

But team boss Frank Williams defused any suggestions that Frentzen might have shown greater loyalty to a German in a Ferrari than a Colombian in a Williams.

"He did the same to Michael didn't he? Michael lost quite a dollop (of time)," he said.

Flag Parade

Montoya was equally scathing of the Hungarian Zsolt Baumgartner, who was standing in for injured Briton Ralph Firman in the second Jordan.

"I am going down the straight and the only thing I see is like 10 or 12 blue flags down the straight, it's like a parade and they don't move," he said of the backmarkers. "The Jordan guy suddenly just stands on the brakes in the middle of the corner to let me by. I nearly ran into the back of him and everything. It's just crazy."

Montoya backed off in the closing stages, banking the points, but he gave it his all in the early stages with a daring attempt to pass Schumacher on lap one.

"I saw it was probably going to be the clearest chance to pass Michael and I had to give it a try," he said. "If you don't try, you don't succeed. What can you do? Just brake, turn and see what happens."

He and Head both brushed aside suggestions that a controversy over tyre tread widths, that forced Michelin to redesign their front tyres to ensure drivers were not disqualified, had played a part.

"Ultimately, the Ferrari and Michael were better than us today and we've got to make sure that that is not the case at the next race," said Head. "I don't think it (the tyre change) has got anything to do with it," said Montoya.

"I think I came out of here with the least loss possible. If I couldn't win, I had to try and finish second and I did. I only lost two points to Michael and I'm three points behind him and it's not over.

"We know we are not going to win all of them. If you can't win, you have to try to finish second...we're still right there in the championship and the next race could be the other way round. We'll see. You have to keep on fighting."

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