Montoya Refusing to Get Carried Away

Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya dismayed Ferrari fans by making title rival Michael Schumacher appear slow in first qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.

Montoya Refusing to Get Carried Away

Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya dismayed Ferrari fans by making title rival Michael Schumacher appear slow in first qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.

The Williams driver is one point behind World Champion and overall leader Schumacher with two races remaining after Sunday's high-stakes race. Montoya lapped Formula One's fastest circuit in 1:20.656, finishing more than half a second ahead of Schumacher, who set the third quickest time behind Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello.

Despite his strong start, however, the Colombian refused to get carried away and said it is tomorrow's qualifying that counts.

"I wasn't very comfortable with the balance of my car this morning but we made some changes which put it back on the right track and I think we should be pretty competitive now," said Montoya. "Before qualifying I wasn't too sure about what the car was going to do but it ran as expected, which means we did a good job.

"We were quite quick in last week's test here which makes us confident for the rest of the weekend. We should perform better tomorrow when the track will be cleaner. It's obviously ideal to be ahead of Michael and Kimi, but what counts is tomorrow, not today, really."

Montoya's teammate Ralf Schumacher had a poor day after failing to set a time on his flying lap. The German overshot the first chicane and will be the second man to go out in tomorrow's grid-deciding session.

"My qualifying today was compromised by a mistake I made just before the chicane," explained Ralf. "I simply braked too late and went straight on, which was my fault. The handling of the car was very good, which is promising for tomorrow's qualifying and the race on Sunday.

"I have tested the modified tyres today for the first time and must say they are a step forward for us. Ferrari is very strong here as expected and we need to work hard."

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