Montoya wins crash-marred German GP

 

Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya won today's crash-marred German Grand Prix to move within six points of defending five-times champion Michael Schumacher in the drivers' title race.

The Latin American, opting for a three-stop strategy in his Williams while most of his rivals stopped only twice, took the lead after starting from his 11th pole position and ran away easily, winning by 67 seconds.

It was his second win in six Formula One races, during which he has always been on the podium, and the third of his career. It made him the leading challenger to Schumacher for this year's title. German Schumacher started sixth and, after profiting from a first-lap multiple collision which wiped out six cars, he fought up to second place in torrid heat in his Ferrari.

But a puncture to his left rear wheel with three laps remaining forced him to take a late third pit stop and dropped him to seventh. As the track temperature touched 50 degrees Celsius and the air temperature soared to 36, Briton David Coulthard grabbed second place for McLaren, ahead of Italian Jarno Trulli and Spaniard Fernando Alonso in the two Renaults.

Frenchman Olivier Panis was fifth for Toyota ahead of his team mate Brazilian Cristiano Da Matta. Schumacher was seventh and Briton Jenson Button eighth for BAR-Honda. The first-corner collision took out German Ralf Schumacher of Williams, Finn Kimi Raikkonen of McLaren and Brazilian Rubens Barrichello of Ferrari, all of whom were leading contenders for the race.

Reuters