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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 June, 2003, 17:25 GMT 18:25 UK
Montoya wins Monaco thriller

RACE RESULT
Montoya won from third on the grid
1. JP Montoya (Williams)
2. K Raikkonen (McLaren)
3. M Schumacher (Ferrari)
4. R Schumacher (Williams)
5. F Alonso (Renault)
6. J Trulli (Renault)
7. D Coulthard (McLaren)
8. R Barrichello (Ferrari)
Juan Pablo Montoya has sent a timely reminder of his ability to his Formula One rivals by winning an enthralling Monaco Grand Prix.

The Colombian, who had started the race third on the grid, fought off the challenge of McLaren driver Kimi Raikkonen to breath life into his fading his championship hopes.

Montoya, whose last win was back in September 2001 in Monza, denied world champion Michael Schumacher a record-equalling sixth career triumph in the principality.

Championship leader Raikkonen finished 0.6secs behind the Colombian in second, with Schumacher third and Ralf Schumacher, who started the race from pole, fourth.

It was Williams' first F1 win since March 2002, when Ralf Schumacher won in Malaysia.

"Everybody needed this," Montoya said. "It was definitely worth waiting for."

The top four teams dominated the first eight places throughout the entire race.

Ralf made a dream start, powering into the first corner to take full advantage of the second pole position of his career.

Montoya also made an impressive getaway, passing Raikkonen for second place - a crucial move.

Ralf Schumacher led the race until the first pit stops. Then, as the action switched from the track to the pit lane, Raikkonen, Trulli and Schumacher all led the field.

Monza was great but this was fantastic - I am so happy. The hardest bit was the battle with Kimi
Juan Pablo Montoya

Raikkonen was able to stay out longer than Montoya before his first pit stop, but traffic meant he could not take advantage of that and Montoya was in front after the stops had ended.

McLaren boss Ron Dennis accused BAR driver Jacques Villeneuve, who Raikkonen was lapping, of being responsible for losing McLaren the race.

Ralf Schumacher dropped out of contention with a series of slow laps after his first stop.

But the pace was furious at the front of the field, where Montoya and Raikkonen swapped fastest laps as they fought for advantage.

Their speed left Michael Schumacher behind, ensuring that it was a two-way battle for victory.

Montoya maintained his advantage at around four seconds and held on to the lead during the second pit stops.

That was enough for him to win the race, even though Raikkonen caught him in the closing laps as Montoya nursed a problem with his engine.

Montoya admitted his relief at ending his long drought.

"I have had chances to win," he said. "In Melbourne I threw it away so the pressure was on but the team needed this - Ralf got pole yesterday and I got this.

HAVE YOUR SAY
"My win in Monza was great too but this was fantastic. This is the most special race you can win," he added.

Montoya has joined Graham Hill as the only man to win the Monaco Grand Prix and the Indy 500, two of the biggest races in motorsport.

Michael Schumacher gained rapidly on the front two during the last stint as the sky clouded over and the track cooled, handing the advantage to his Bridgestone tyres.

He crossed the line right behind Raikkonen.

"If I hadn't been stuck behind Trulli, I guess I could have kept the situation closer with Kimi and I probably would have been able to get him," said Schumacher.

"But our strategy was to go for a long first stint and that meant having more fuel, which is why I was behind him.

"But overall you have to say that we were not strong enough this weekend," he added.

In the championship, Raikkonen's second place moves him onto 48 points, four clear of Michael Schumacher and 23 clear of fifth placed Montoya.

David Coulthard finished in a disappointed seventh place, having been stuck behind Trulli for the entire race.

Dennis said: "I think he's disappointed with his own performance,. It doesn't need me to put any more pressure on. He didn't qualify well and paid the price through the weekend."




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Jonathan Legard
"Montoya showed he still has a dazzling winning touch"



MONACO GRAND PRIX

MONTOYA ENDS DROUGHT

TRACK GUIDE

2003 SEASON RACE BY RACE
 

GET INTO F1

 
 


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