Montoya Ready to Help Raikkonen

Juan Pablo Montoya has refused to rule out his Formula One title chances despite being 43 points behind leader Fernando Alonso but accepts his role is more likely to be to help his McLaren teammate Kimi Raikkonen

Montoya Ready to Help Raikkonen

The Colombian told a US Grand Prix news conference on Thursday that while he would be prepared to help Finnish teammate Raikkonen win the crown, he still had his own ambitions.

"If mathematically I'm out of the points, yes, you would be (prepared to help)," he said. "It would be a case of work with the team, not against the team.

"But until that happens, I think we've still got quite a few races. I think I've got the pace to close the points on Fernando and Kimi, so I'm not too bothered about that to be honest."

Raikkonen, with 37 points to Alonso's 59 and 11 races remaining, has won three of the last four races in a season dominated by Renault and McLaren.

Montoya missed two races after suffering a shoulder injury while playing tennis in March and was disqualified from last weekend's Canadian Grand Prix for ignoring a red light when he left the pitlane.

He has 16 points and is behind Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, whose haul of 24 points has left even the German's hopes of an eighth Championship looking doubtful.

Team Orders

Teams are not allowed officially to order a driver to move over for a teammate and Montoya doubted McLaren would risk breaking them.

"The rules say there are no team orders. I think if that would happen it would be my decision and not (team boss) Ron (Dennis's) decision to help the team," he said. "I think I'm pretty clear on what we have to do.

"I still believe I have a chance for the Championship. But you've got to be realistic to know when it stops.

"I'm pretty straightforward," added the Colombian. "If this year I need to help Kimi...it doesn't mean I'm going to be out of the Championship next year. I think you've got to be a team player in every aspect.

"If this year means helping Kimi, then that's what it's going to be. But it wouldn't come as a team order."

Montoya dismissed any suggestion that McLaren, who made a mistake with his second pitstop in Montreal, had attempted to engineer Raikkonen's win at his expense.

He revealed that Dennis had gone out of his way to make amends after the race.

"He came to my hotel room that night to apologise for what happened," said Montoya.

"I don't think I would have seen that at Williams. So I'm pretty confident the team is 100 percent behind me."

Montoya also revealed that he had raced in pain after coming back from his injury in Spain in May.

"The first race was really hard for me and I hardly could drive the car with the pain," he said. "Monaco was a bit of the same."

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen
Author Alan Baldwin
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