Juan Pablo Montoya is definitely a charismatic thinker and his unique temperament is visible when he’s on the track. He has enjoyed success in Formula One, NASCAR, CART and Indycar and has won 6 F1 Grand Prixs, Daytona 500 in addition to being a three time winner of the 24 hour Daytona event. His formidable list of achievements proves just why he is one of the most recognized racers going around and his versatility is testimony to his greatness.
According to the Columbian, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso are the two most complete, all-round drivers on the grid which comes as a shocker since three time world Champion Lewis Hamilton isn’t included in the same. In addition to this, he said that European F1 drivers are weak mentally.
“Vettel is one of the most complete guys and I think Fernando [as well],” he said. “I ran with Fernando all my career and I think those are the two overall best drivers.
“Lewis does a really good job but they are in the best car. It’s very easy to think the guy in the best car is the best driver, but the question is if they were not in the best car, how would they handle things? I think Fernando and Sebastian have endured that and I think they are the best.”
Hamilton’s exclusion definitely mustn’t have panned out well in the F1 fraternity, considering his popularity on the circuit, but fans would agree that Alonso deserves the commendation he has received. Not only did he win the world championship twice with Renault, but also pushed a struggling Ferrari hard for a few years.
Vettel’s inclusion is debatable, since his erratic performances do not merit much acclaim. While F1 fans believe that he is a world champion ONLY because of the car, they do forget 2010 and 2012 when Red Bull were not the best machine. They do forget 2008 as well when he took a Torro Rosso well beyond its capabilities. So his inclusion is a valid one as well.
He also made an interesting comment on the mentality of European drivers, especially that of the Schumacher brothers.
“I learned a lot with Ralf, he was really quick but European drivers are very weak mentally. You can get in their head really easily and I think that plays in what you see today and what you see always in Formula One.
“When things go their way they are really strong — when Lewis is winning he is unstoppable, but if something goes wrong the spiral down is huge. If the cars were close together you would see different people winning.”
“I think Michael was one of the few guys that was really strong. You could get in his head but he was really strong.
“Ralf, on the other hand, was a guy that to beat him was nearly impossible, but if you could beat him on his ‘A day’ you could get in his head. It was tough, we all have weakness, you just have to figure which ones they are.”
All in all, interesting observations can be made on the basis of the Montoya’s statements. European drivers are the ones that have dominated the podium and most of the victories in the 21st century and only a handful of Non-European drivers have had strong success in F1- the likes of Mark Webber, Daniel Ricciardo, Felipe Massa, Rubens Barrichello and Montoya himself.
Psychological warfare between rivals has taken a back seat, even though there have been heated standoffs between teammates as of recent times. With off-track commitments and the sport realising the demerits of commercialisation, it’s only natural that the landscape of F1 ideology changes.