F1 tester rejects Montoya’s ‘no. 1’ claim

Tue, 26 June 2007, 09:35

McLaren’s main tester has rubbished Juan Pablo Montoya’s recent claim that the Woking based outfit have “always” had a clear number one driver.

Colombian Montoya, who drove alongside Kimi Raikkonen at McLaren in 2005 and 2006 before departing for NASCAR, said recently that rookie and current championship leader Lewis Hamilton appears to be the new favourite.

“There really always is a favourite driver on the team,” Montoya, who at the weekend secured his first victory in NASCAR’s premier Nextel Cup series, said.

Pedro de la Rosa, however, described as nonsense the implication that Fernando Alonso is therefore Hamilton’s deputy.

“Montoya is not right if he says one driver is in a better position than the other one,” McLaren’s 36-year-old primary test driver told the Spanish newspaper Diario As.

De la Rosa added: “Fernando is a double world champion so of course he is not of secondary importance to anyone.”

Alonso’s fellow Spaniard also commented on the supposed ‘civil war’ between the 2007 McLaren lineup, suggesting that any rivalry is actually “helpful” to the team.

“I think it motivates everyone even more,” de la Rosa said, “to push the development of the car and to progress in every area.”

He added: “Also there is no ignoring the fact that ever since the (Alonso-Hamilton) fight really began, McLaren has won every race.”

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