“I Destroyed Him Mentally”: Juan Pablo Montoya Reveals How He Attacked Michael Schumacher’s Brother’s ‘Credibility’

“I Destroyed Him Mentally”: Juan Pablo Montoya Reveals How He Attacked Michael Schumacher’s Brother’s ‘Credibility’

“I Destroyed Him Mentally”: Juan Pablo Montoya Reveals How He Attacked Michael Schumacher’s Brother’s ‘Credibility'

Credits: IMAGO / HochZwei

Ralf Schumacher may not have won an F1 championship, but he was an excellent driver in his own right. Being the younger brother of the great Michael Schumacher, the comparisons were bound to happen. However, the younger Schumacher sibling carved out a place for himself. So much so that his former teammate-rival, Juan Pablo Montoya, sings his praise to this day. The Colombian was a wily fox, though. He kept his Williams teammate in check by playing “mind games”.

Montoya appeared on F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast‘s latest episode. As host Tom Clarkson asked him how good Ralf was, the seven-time race winner said, “Honestly, Ralf was so, so good! His speed… Oh my god, he was so quick! He played with me for so long. It was so annoying, it was so hard. The things he could do with the car over one lap, it was unreal!”

The tall praise led to Clarkson asking Montoya if he thought that Ralf never got the credibility he deserved. While the Colombian did not answer the question directly, he did name himself to be the reason for it. Montoya replied, “You know, what’s the problem is that I destroyed him mentally.”

In their first year together at Williams (2001), Ralf got the better of Montoya, finishing two places ahead in P4 with an 18-point margin. From the very next year onwards, the Colombian found a way to get ahead.

The duo developed an epic rivalry during their four years together. It came to a point that Montoya, at the 2003 French GP, verbally abused his engineers over the radio. He alleged his slow pitstop was intentional and crucial in gifting Ralf the race win.

All this while, Ralf was facing allegations of nepotism. Many believed he made his way into F1 courtesy of his champion brother. Incidentally, Montoya shared an iconic rivalry with Michael as well.

Juan Pablo Montoya emerged as a challenger to Michael Schumacher’s throne

Juan Pablo Montoya arrived in F1 with the reputation of a champion driver. Having honed his skills behind the wheel in America, Montoya won the 1999 Indy Car championship. The former Chip Ganassi racer got used to his Williams F1 car in no time.

In his second year in F1 (2002), the South American driver finished third in the championship. While champion Michael Schumacher finished miles ahead with 144 points, his Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello finished second with 77 points. Montoya was close behind with 50 points to his name.

The 2003 championship was a closely fought contest, though. While Montoya once again finished in P3, the gap to Michael wasn’t big. While the German finished the season with 93 points, Kimi Raikkonen was two points behind while the gap to Montoya was 11.

In 2005, neither driver was close to fighting for the championship. The rivalry, however, flourished. Schumacher, still driving for Ferrari, finished in P3 with 62 points. Montoya, a McLaren man now, finished a place behind with just two points between them. This was despite him missing out on two races owing to a fractured scapula.

Montoya had a strained relationship with McLaren team boss Ron Dennis. The 2006 car had massive understeer which did not please the former Indy champion.

McLaren ultimately decided not to renew Montoya’s contract for the 2007 season which led to him switching to NASCAR. His son, Sebastian, is currently competing in F3 with Campos Racing. Moreover, Sebastian is also a member of Red Bull’s junior team.

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