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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 October 2005, 14:33 GMT 15:33 UK
Juan Pablo Montoya
A fresh start

Juan Pablo Montoya
Born: 20/9/75
Nationality: Colombian
First GP: Australia 2001
Wins: 7
2005 position: 4th
Previous teams: Williams
Juan Pablo Montoya did not have the best of starts to life at McLaren.

Facing a key test of his credentials in direct comparison with Kimi Raikkonen, Montoya had an unhappy first half-season with the team.

But after overcoming a shoulder injury and struggles with the car, he was a match for Raikkonen at several races.

Victories at Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos will surely not be the only wins the dynamic Colombian - arguably the best overtaker in F1 history - takes for his new team.

Montoya struggled early on in 2005 because McLaren were struggling to get heat into their car's front tyres, which caused understeer - a handling characteristic that Montoya detests.

And just as the team were about to get on top of that problem, Montoya injured his shoulder and was forced to miss two races while he recovered.

He came back too soon, and was in a lot of pain when he did, but by Canada he was more or less on Raikkonen's pace.

Three races later, Montoya finally clinched his first victory for McLaren at the British Grand Prix.

Montoya was always going to find the poker-faced Raikkonen a tougher team-mate to dominate than Ralf Schumacher.

Montoya's speed, aggression and improvisational skill make him the most exciting driver in F1.

And he has proved he is one of the few drivers who have what it takes to beat Michael Schumacher in a straight fight.

He is one of the best overtakers in the history of the sport, with a rare gift for improvisation and a hard-nosed approach to racing.

But his critics say he needs to work harder to exploit his full potential, with Williams insiders raising doubts about his ability to get the best out of his car and about his fitness.

And he has yet to prove that he can perform at his best when his car is not to his liking.

Be that as it may, Montoya will be expected to be a title contender from the start of next season, when he will have the chance to answer a lot of the questions still hanging over him.

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