Juan Pablo Montoya Q&A

After a winter of hype and expectation, Juan Pablo Montoya has finally arrived as a Grand Prix driver. He certainly looked spectacular through practice in Melbourne, probably because he was fighting a car that didn't handle to his satisfaction. There were a few minor offs and a spectacular spin on Saturday, plus a bump with Jacques Villeneuve. Juan, who was himself held up by Enrique Bernoldi in a separate incident, says he didn't see him coming. At the end of it all he qualified 11th, a full second slower than team mate Ralf Schumacher. Adam Cooper spoke to the Colombian

Juan Pablo Montoya Q&A



"It's really good, it's really good to be here, I like the atmosphere and generally everything is going really well. I think qualifying was a bit disappointing in a way. Traffic plays a big role, and it plays really against us, especially in the last run. In the first run I made a mistake, and the next two runs were good, but you need to learn more and be a bit more free about things - I was holding myself back a bit too much. The last run I tried to really get in the money, and it was coming really well, and Bernoldi came and got in front of me and spoiled my lap completely. But those things happen."



"Not really! His reputation before has always been something like that - he's a very aggressive driver. It's a bit disappointing, you know. We went really wide, and I thought he's letting me go around, and suddenly when I was going straight to the exit his car was just there. I nearly hit him, and I really had to get off the throttle. It really cost me a lot, because the time that I did before was good, but there was a lot of room to go faster, and we couldn't really get it. I think with time I'm going to find the limit faster."



"Yeah, what is difficult is that you only have really four chances. On Friday I had trouble with the car, today was better, but really I'm disappointed. I've been all weekend within 0.2s of Ralf with the same amount of fuel. You really have to get it on lap one. It's not like you've made a mistake and you can try an extra lap. You've made a mistake and that's it. Knowing that I was a bit careful at the beginning."



"I think the team is quite good. We're going to have some ups and downs, especially with the tyres, so we'll see. The car needs a little bit more work, and the engine seems quite good."



"Oh yeah. You come back a lot wiser. I was very relaxed today, and very surprised to be honest, before qualifying. Normally you get really nervous and you panic, but I was very relaxed, and I felt it was pretty good. I think we're looking really good for the races. I think this race is quite interesting, because more than half the cars normally break down. You've really got to have a clean start, and we'll see what happens after that."



"It still understeers, and for an optimum lap in qualifying it really hurts, because you've got to wait for the front. It understeers a lot less. You could drive the car today, but yesterday [Friday] it was undriveable. I think we're starting to find where we want to go with the car for the races and qualifying. And I think it's just going to get better and better."



"We haven't had a single problem throughout the weekend. The car has been running like a clock... every time it's fine. No problems with the gearbox, the engine's strong, the chassis is strong."



"Yeah, there's been some good, some really crap, so we'll see!"



"Hopefully a good one. I tried a couple of starts yesterday, and there's very low grip. I'm not expecting to go out and pass three guys into the first corner because I did a blinding start, but I hope that when I drop the clutch three guys don't blow by me."



"It's hard to stall one of these cars with the little amount of grip you have on the tyres. It's how you feed the clutch really, that's the key. If we get a good start it will be quite nice actually."



"There are a lot of things that I've learned. I think I've matured a lot, and I think I'm a lot better prepared, physically and mentally."

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