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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 June, 2003, 18:55 GMT 19:55 UK
Montoya's Monaco magic

Jonathan Legard
BBC motor racing correspondent

Montoya shows his joy at his Monaco victory
Montoya worked hard for his Monaco success
Juan Pablo Montoya has made his name as one of motor racing's buccaneers - fast, daring, bold and willing to overtake whenever possible.

But his second Formula One victory on Sunday, through Monaco's unforgiving metal-plated alleyways, showed another side to a talent bursting to succeed.

Montoya won from third on the grid, battling an engine problem over the closing laps while at the same time fending off unrelenting pressure from the championship leader, Kimi Raikkonen, all the way to the line.

And he did it driving within himself.

"I really paced myself and stayed focused," he admitted afterwards.

Montoya pacing himself? Talking about focus? He may even go out for dinner with his team-mate next.

Perhaps, though, the penny has finally dropped.

In Monaco, Montoya never made one false move

As Jackie Stewart is so fond of saying: "To go faster, you need to go slower."

The three times champion has also accused the Colombian of being too aggressive, but Montoya's performance in Monaco suggested otherwise.

Even in his moment in triumph, Montoya could not help recalling how he threw away victory in the wide open spaces of Albert Park at the start of this season.

In Melbourne, he lost concentration and spun away the lead.

In Monaco, while walls and Armco hemmed him in at every turn, he did not make one false move.

He curbed the impetuous trait which led him into costly collisions with Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard last year, yet gave full rein to the natural ability that jump over Ralf Schumacher to lead after the first round of pit stops.

Mechanical failures like the one which wrecked his chances at the last race in Austria and at three key races last year where he started from pole are regrettably all part of the game.

Williams know the FW25 needs further refinement after a faltering start. BMW's engine is not always the faultless unit it is been made out to be.

"Formula One is a big orchestra and to get every section performing well individually and then collectively is very complex," said technical director Patrick Head.

But driver errors are unforced, unnecessary and wholly unacceptable in a championship challenge.

Michael Schumacher attracted so much criticism over the first three races because he was making uncharacteristic mistakes.

He has since returned to form and risen up the championship standings.

Juan Pablo Montoya on his way to victory in Monaco
Montoya on his way to victory at Monaco

As Montoya keeps being reminded, much to his annoyance, Schumacher sets the standard by which the others are all judged.

The Colombian had barely sat in a kart for the first time when Williams last won in Monaco in 1983.

It must seem as long ago since his country's national flag was last raised above Formula One's podium.

In reality, it was just 21 months ago at the Italian Grand Prix - days after the 9/11 attacks in America.

Montoya did it from pole, he did it in style and it looked to be his foot in the door of F1's hall of fame.

But it was not quite the watershed both Montoya and his fans expected.

"I couldn't believe it was actually happening," he said, the winner's trophy in his grasp in Monaco.

"It's been a long time waiting. It's been a big jinx for me not to win another race."

Now, heading to Canada, where he deserved to win last summer after a typically dazzling charge to pole, Montoya has another opportunity to prove his championship credentials.




MONACO GRAND PRIX

MONTOYA ENDS DROUGHT

TRACK GUIDE

2003 SEASON RACE BY RACE
 

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