IndyCar confidence back after 'painful' 2014 - Montoya

Juan Pablo Montoya says his confidence is now fully restored after admitting that parts of his IndyCar comeback season with Penske in 2014 were "painful"

IndyCar confidence back after 'painful' 2014 - Montoya

The ex-Formula 1 racer opened the 2015 IndyCar campaign with victory in St Petersburg on Sunday, defeating champion team-mate Will Power in a late-race fight.

ST PETERSBURG REPORT: Montoya defeats Power in opener

Montoya had finished fourth in the standings last season on his return to single-seaters following a seven-year stint in NASCAR that followed his shock mid-season exit from McLaren and Formula 1 in 2006.

But he admitted that his driving was uncharacteristically tentative in 2014 and it has taken until now to restore his racecraft.

"I'll tell you what's the big difference between myself last year and this year," he said.

"Last year going to the restarts, I was thinking 'don't hit anything'.

"I was trying to pass somebody, but I was behind the car and I didn't have enough time to look for opportunities.

"In these restarts [in St Petersburg], I knew how far I could go to brake and make the corner.

"Everything just clicked. I was looking for the hole, always looking for the hole. I think that was a big plus."

Although the Colombian won on the Pocono oval in 2014, he was frustrated with his form on street circuits in particular.

"Last year was very disappointing. It was tough not only here [in St Petersburg] but generally on the street courses," said Montoya, whose previous street circuit achievements had included lapping the Formula 3000 field in Pau, taking a maiden CART win in Long Beach and winning the 2003 Monaco Grand Prix.

"I'm a guy that always excelled at street courses everywhere I raced.

"To come here and have a year with really bad street course racing, it was pretty tough. I was never happy with the car."

Montoya said going a "completely different" set-up route to Penske team-mates Power, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud had helped him get back on the pace on street tracks.

"I felt on the ovals I was really good last year everywhere. Going to street courses was painful. Going to road courses, we were getting better, finding a few things," he said.

"We made a lot of changes. If you went and looked at my set-up against the other three cars, you would think I'm completely insane.

"But I won the race, so I'm not that crazy, I guess."

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