Juan-Pablo Montoya claims gamesmanship by Ferrari precluded him from passing Michael Schumacher in the closing stages of the Malaysian Grand Prix. Was Montoya’s complaint justified?

Juan-Pablo Montoya claims gamesmanship by Ferrari precluded him from passing Michael Schumacher in the closing stages of the Malaysian Grand Prix. Was Montoya’s complaint justified?


The Colombian, who scored a strong second place at Sepang, closed to within 3,7 seconds of Schumacher's leading Ferrari just before to the two drivers’ final pit stops. Montoya stopped on lap 39 and Schumacher pitted a lap later, but unfortunately for the Colombian, he rejoined just behind Rubens Barrichello in the second Ferrari, who ran another five laps before stopping.


From a regular pace in the low 1:36s, Barrichello slowed to 1:37,2 and then 1:37,9 before speeding up just before his last stop. By this time, Schumacher was 9,2s in front of Montoya.


Montoya, who desperately tried to pass Barrichello, said: “I got a run on him, I think it was into Turn Four, but as soon as I moved, he closed the door straight away and his pace backed off. I was on new tyres and there were 12 laps to go, but there was no point even trying to pass. It was a shame because even cruising I could lap in the 1:36s no problem, but I just backed off. It was better to score eight points than to be out of the race.”


Later, Barrichello gave his side of the incident: "I don't know where it (Montoya’s complaint) is coming from because I had Zsolt Baumgartner in front of me and we lost three seconds. Juan was behind me and so he lost time as well. That's why Juan is p***ed off, because there was no way he made any attempt to overtake."


Technical director Ross Brawn added: "We didn't do anything intentionally (to undermine Montoya’s charge). On the other hand Rubens was second and Montoya was third, so we're not going to wave him past.


"But there was no attempt by us to ask Rubens to deliberately hold up Montoya. The lap times during that period were pretty comparable. Juan was just frustrated and a little emotional."