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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 July 2006, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
Juan Pablo Montoya
Action man

Juan Pablo Montoya
Born: 20/9/75
Nationality: Colombian
First GP: Australia 2001
Wins: 7
2005 position: 4th
Teams: Williams, McLaren
Juan Pablo Montoya's Formula One career ended on a disappointing note following his defection to the US Nascar series.

The Colombian, arguably the greatest overtaker in F1 history, had a low-key 2006 after a generally impressive debut season at McLaren.

But his form slipped this year, perhaps a reflection of a deteriorating relationship with his team.

He will be remembered as a great talent who did not possess all the qualities required to make it to the very top.

In 2005 Montoya was - once he had got used to his new team - generally a far more serious threat to Raikkonen than his predecessor David Coulthard had been.

And he would have won more than his tally of three races - and beaten the Finn on more occasions in a straight fight - had the team not asked him to support Raikkonen's title bid.

That is an impressive achievement considering the Finn, one of Formula One's fastest drivers, had been at McLaren since 2002.

Montoya remained prone to errors, but these are part of a character that made him the most exciting man in F1.

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

Critics said Montoya never learned to work as hard as he needed to exploit his full potential and he never proved he could perform at his best when his car was not to his liking.

But he was one of the few drivers who had what it takes to beat Michael Schumacher in a straight fight.

Montoya applied himself at McLaren last year perhaps better than at any time in his F1 career so far, but he remains a driver whose ability is based on flair and improvisation.

This means he would always have found it difficult to match the consistency of Raikkonen or Fernando Alonso over a season.

But the flipside is that at his best he was almost peerless.

In 2005, he found himself in situations some of his calmer rivals would have avoided - tangling with backmarkers, running off the road at key moments and so on.

But when he got a sniff of victory these things tended not to happen, and he was focused, committed, consistent and incredibly hard to beat.


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