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One win for Juan

Crash and bang: Juan Pablo Montoya leads the field through the first chicane as Jenson Button hits Jarno Trulli.

Colombian rising star breaks through for his first win in Formula One

BMW logo17 Sep 2001

By BRUCE NEWTON

WILLIAMS BMW rising star Juan Pablo Montoya broke through for his debut victory in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on Sunday.

Montoya's victory was a rare positive in a weekend blighted by a debate over whether the race should proceed at all in the wake of the US terrorist attacks, disagreements among the drivers over race etiquette and serious injuries suffered by former Williams driver Alex Zanardi in a CART race in Germany on Saturday.

Montoya started from pole position but gave up the lead to second fastest qualifier Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) after eight laps, the two swapping the lead again as the pit stops progressed.

Barrichello eventually finished second, five seconds behind Montoya, with Montoya's teammate Ralf Schumacher in third place - the German also having a stint in the lead.

Fourth was world champion Michael Schumacher in his Ferrari, Pedro De La Rosa had a strong run for Jaguar in fifth, while Jacques Villeneuve rounded out the top six in his BAR Honda.

It was Michael Schumacher and Villeneuve who appeared to be the key players in a pre-race dispute over whether the drivers should be allowed to pass in the first two chicanes, in the wake of a flag marshal being killed last year.

Villeneuve was said to be the sole dissenting driver against a no-pass rule, which seemed to infuriate Schumacher, who like brother Ralf, had also not been keen to race because of the US situation.

For Montoya, however, it was a day worth celebrating, although his victory came only after several problems including blistering rear Michelin tyres, having to take avoiding action when Malaysian debutante Alex Yoong spun his Minardi and also running off-track across a gravel trap.

"Considering this was my first year I wasn't really expecting to win," admitted Montoya. "I had a couple of opportunities where I could have won it and I just said 'when the time is meant to come it will come'.

"I think it is a great day for me. My father is here, it's his birthday today so it's pretty good."Barrichello's chances were damaged by a slow 16 second first pit-stop, the Ferrari team electing to take a two-stop strategy in an effort to foil the Williams' edge in speed. The Brazilian passed Ralf Schumacher for second place with just eight laps to go.

"I had a weekend when I performed really well, one of my best weekends. I could go for it in qualifying, I could go for it in the race and the team have helped quite a good amount," Barrichello said.

The result has pushed him to within three points of McLaren Mercedes driver David Coulthard in the battle for second place in the championship, while Ralf Schumacher is a further eight points away.

Coulthard's engine blew up on lap seven while he was running fifth. His teammate Mika Hakkinen was forced off the track in a first corner melee triggered by a late braking Jenson Button who put Jordan's Jarno Trulli out of the race, then suffered gearbox problems, retiring on lap 19.

Hakkinen announced prior to Monza that he was taking next year off. His replacement will be fellow-Finn Kimi Raikkonen, who crosses from Sauber.

* Mark Webber finished his F3000 season off with a bang when he was rammed off the track on the opening lap at Monza. The Australian had already locked up second place in the title behind Englishman Justin Wilson.

Webber qualified fourth but was forced to start the race from the back of the grid when the engine in his Super Nova Lola died on the formation lap.

He made several positions from the green light, avoiding a multi-car collision at the first chicane. but was pushed off into the barriers by Prost Jnr driver Norberto Fontana on the following straight.

Webber resumes his test duties this week at Silverstone with Benetton-Renault.

ITALIAN GRAND PRIX RACE RESULTS
1 Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams BMW) 1hr16:58.493
2 R Barrichello (Ferrari) +5.175
3 R Schumacher (Williams BMW) +17.335
4 M Schumacher (Ferrari) +24.991
5 P De La Rosa (Jaguar) +1:14.984
6 J Villeneuve (BAR Honda) +1:22.469
7 K Raikkonen (Sauber Petronas) +1:23.107
8 J Alesi (Jordan Honda) +1 lap
9 O Panis (BAR Honda) +1 lap
10 G Fisichella (Benetton Renault) +1 lapDRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP
1 M Schumacher (GER) 107
2 D Coulthard (SCO) 57
3 Barrichello (BRA) 54
4 R Schumacher (GER) 48
5 Montoya (COL) 25
6 M Hakkinen (FIN) 24
7 Villeneuve (CAN) 12
8 N Heidfeld (GER) 11
=9 Raikkonen (FIN) 9
=9 Trulli (ITA) 9CONSTRUCTORS' CHAMPIONSHIP
1 Ferrari 161
2 McLaren 81
3 Williams 73
4 Sauber 20
5 BAR 17
6 Jordan 16
7 Benetton 10
8 Jaguar 7
9 Prost 4
10 Arrows 1Next round: USA, Indianapolis, September 30

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