Montoya on the podium after 5 races
29th April, 2001
It was a big day for BMW WilliamsF1
driver Juan-Pablo Montoya. For the first time this season he finished a race, and also
took his first podium after only five races, when he crossed the finish line second and
40.738 seconds after race winner Michael Schumacher in the Spanish Grand Prix.
Starting 11th after Coulthard's stall, he had already gained 6 placed by the end of the
first lap. He then drove a very controlled race, that eventually put him on the podium. As
he had not expected it, the young Colombian was overjoyed with this result. "I think
it is really great to be on the podium!" he exclaimed.
"The first four races were difficult, as some were competitive and some weren't. I
didn't expect to be on the podium today as the car was quite tricky to drive, and McLaren
and Ferrari were in a different league, which means we have a lot of work to do before the
next race. We only used the launch control, and it definitely helped with the start. I
thought it was going to be a bit more difficult to be in the points. I am delighted and
have to thank the whole team - WilliamsF1, BMW and Michelin - for a great job."
For his team mate, Ralf Schumacher, the race did not have a happy ending. After his
fabulous win in Imola two weeks ago, the German did not see the chequered flag today.
Running in 3rd position he suddenly spun into the gravel at turn 10, and had to abandon
his car. "I really don't know what happened when I spun," he said. "When I
was braking, just before the left hander, the car felt fine. Suddenly the rear came round,
I spun off the track and got stuck in the gravel. It is really a shame, as after some
problems over the weekend the race was looking good for me."
The team's technical director Patrick Head had mixed feelings about this weekend, but he
was more than happy with Juan-Pablo's result. "It is a great result for Juan Pablo -
starting from 12th on the grid and finishing on the podium. He made a great start and
drove a good race, controlling the gap to the cars behind him. The team did two good pit
stops, which helped, especially as he overtook Trulli in the first one. Ralf was also very
competitive in the race, but unfortunately a rear brake locked and he spun off."