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Old 05-21-2005
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Montoya penalized at Monaco GP, will have to start from the back of the grid

Juan Pablo Montoya will start from the back of the grid in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix after Stewards deemed he was to blame for an accident during second practice on Saturday morning.

The Stewards said the McLaren Mercedes driver was at fault after he slowed down in front of Ralf Schumacher's Toyota, causing him to brake hard. This, in turn, forced Jacques Villeneuve and David Coulthard to become involved in a multiple collision.

The sport's governing body said in a statement 'Juan Pablo Montoya was driving unnecessarily slowly in a very fast part of the track and thereby caused a completely avoidable accident.'

But Montoya, who had finished fifth fastest in the later qualifying session, denied causing the incident and protested: "I am really disappointed that there was any action taken against it. I was going up the hill, following very close. Ralf got in front and nearly hit me and when I did that I moved in front of him. But the only reason I pulled in front was because I was behind Ralf and he slowed down. People assume I did a brake test but the only reason I moved was to avoid an accident. When I look at it the only person who didn't move out of the way of the accident was Coulthard."

"I am really frustrated because we are all working really hard and I thought I had a really good chance of having a successful race. It is very unfair."

Stewards said that video evidence was 'not very conclusive' and called for data to be presented to them from both the FIA and from on-board telemetry from Montoya's McLaren car. They said the data showed that Montoya slowed down 180 metres ahead of his normal braking point into the section and continued at the same speed he was running when he headed into of turn two.

In the statement they revealed: 'On Montoya's fast lap the speed at this point of the incident 'was 278.3km/h and in the lap involving the incident the speed was 86.4km/h.'

Both Coulthard and Schumacher provided independent statements that matched up, saying that they left the pits with Schumacher leading Coulthard when Montoya approached from the rear on a fast lap.

He was delayed 'in a minor manner' and the statement said both drivers stated he 'took exception to his lap being disturbed and subsequently drove unnecessarily slowly in a very fast part of the track.'

Villeneuve, who was also on a fast lap, was unable to stop and he hit the rear of Coulthard's Red Bull Racing machine, which then slewed into Schumacher's car while Montoya continued on unscathed.

Coulthard was happy Montoya was penalised for the incident. "Montoya gesticulated at Ralf just before turn three near the Casino and it ended in a multi-car pile-up."

Schumacher also protested and said: "I stayed well within the yellow lines and for whatever reason I held him up. Basically he brake tested me, and held me up. I am sure he didn't believe someone could crash but it just wasn't necessary."

Montoya admitted he had slowed down because his lap had been ruined but claimed his decision to brake at that point was made so that Villeneuve could get past to continue his flying lap. But McLaren team boss Ron Dennis, whose other driver Kimi Raikkonen is on provisional pole, said: "Juan Pablo will now be looking to finish in the top eight, which is not what this team is about, and it is disappointing. There is not an appeal process, so there is nothing we can do. It was in a practice session, which counts for nothing, and incidents are part of Grand Prix racing."

It was also a disastrous day for Schumacher, who will now have to start alongside Montoya at the back of the grid because he crashed into the barriers on his later flying lap in first qualifying.
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