NUERBURGRING: Juan Pablo Montoya added Williams teammate Ralf Schumacher to his hit list on Sunday.
A week after colliding with Ferrari's Michael Schumacher in a Monaco accident that ended the world champion's hopes of a sixth win in a row, the Colombian clattered into Ralf at the Nuerburgring.
Montoya had already been depicted as a local hate figure when he turned up at the Schumachers' home circuit for Sunday's European Grand Prix.
“123,000 people against Montoya,” ran a headline in Berlin's B.Z tabloid daily on Saturday.
There were a few more shaking their heads, if not their fists, on Sunday after the Williams drivers collided – not for the first time – seconds after the start.
Former world champion Niki Lauda said he could not understand it.
“In Monte Carlo, he thinks it is Michael's fault and here he crashes with Ralf and says it is (Toyota's Olivier) Panis' fault,” said the Austrian.
“It was obvious here that he hit Ralf. With locking wheels on the left.
“If you are not critical of yourself and you always think the other guy is at fault, then you continue doing this.
“And if you see on the other side how the championship is going, why is Michael always winning? Because he is the cleverest and quickest guy who is winning and the other one makes mistakes one after the other.”
The weekend provided sweet revenge for Michael Schumacher, winning for dominant Ferrari, and a nightmare for Williams as they returned to the circuit where last year Ralf led a one-two to the jubilation of engine partners BMW.
This time Ralf retired immediately while Montoya, joining McLaren next year, finished eighth after pitting for a new front wing and rejoining the race in last place.
“Barrichello, who was in front of me, braked quite early and both Ralf and I locked the tyres,” said Montoya of the incident.
“Then Ralf went for the outside and I stayed behind Rubens but, when I was going around the corner, Panis dived up the inside hitting my front tyre which threw me straight into Ralf.”
The first impact, with the Colombian's left front tyre hitting Ralf's rear wheel, spun Ralf around and the cars hit again.
“What happened is obviously a shame,” Ralf said in a team statement. “Being taken out of the race at the first corner is definitely not what I was expecting.” – Reuters