Brazil GP 2001: Murray's Memories - Montoya's grand arrival

Murray's Memories: Juan Pablo Montoya's star rises in 2001 Brazil GP

'Murray's Memories' are Murray Walker's personal recollections of some of the most dramatic moments in the history of F1. For the final time this season, he remembers the 2001 Brazilian Grand Prix...

When Michael Schumacher was setting his amazing records, the general view was that they would stand for a very long time indeed, and may never be broken.

The extraordinary performance of Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull over the last few years has changed all that.

There are as many differences between Vettel/Red Bull and Schumacher/Ferrari as there are similarities. But similarities there are.

Just as with Schumacher and Ferrari in 2000, for example, Vettel's first title for Red Bull came only after an intense battle with a rival of the highest standard.

In Vettel's case, it was Fernando Alonso and Ferrari (and the German's own team-mate Mark Webber as well as the two McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button); in Schumacher's it was Mika Hakkinen and McLaren.

But Vettel then followed that with a season of domination - winning more races than the rest put together, just as did Schumacher in 2001.

Schumacher won nine of the 17 races that year, and cruised to many of those victories. That was also the case with Vettel's 11 in 2011.

Both years, the eventual champion and his team won the first two races, but in both years they were humbled in the third. In Vettel's case, it was by Lewis Hamilton's McLaren in China; in Schumacher's it was also by a McLaren - in the hands of David Coulthard.

The race in question was in Brazil, which back then was some years away from its now familiar position as the season finale. And it wasn't just Coulthard who put Schumacher in his place. Another driver did, too - and he was a rookie.

Schumacher took pole position at Interlagos, with brother Ralf's Williams alongside. McLaren's Mika Hakkinen, directly behind the Ferrari on the grid, stalled at the start and out came the safety car.

The race restarted on lap three and straight away there was a sensation - new boy Juan Pablo Montoya from Colombia, in only his third grand prix, brilliantly thrust his Williams past Schumacher and into the lead.

And just behind the leaders, Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello rammed Ralf Schumacher off the track!

Classic Brazil '01: Coulthard beats Schumacher to victory

Even as the rain began to spit, Montoya not only stayed ahead of Schumacher's Ferrari but pulled away until - disaster! - he was taken out by Dutchman Jos Verstappen's Arrows, who rammed into the back of the Williams while being lapped.

Now it was Coulthard's McLaren up front. The Scot looked to be cruising to an easy win, only for the heavens to open and rain to deluge down.

Schumacher's final pit stop was fortuitously timed just as the rain started and he was able to switch to wet-weather tyres at the same time, while Coulthard had already made his last stop and needed to come in again, having lost a lot of time doing a lap in the wet on dry-weather slicks.

The decision not to stop looked to have cost Coulthard the race, but then Schumacher sensationally spun, giving the Scot the chance to catch him up again.

An inspired pass in the wet, with the two going either side of a backmarker into Turn One, and Coulthard never looked back - as Schumacher went off again trying to keep up!

A great 10th career win for David but that day in Brazil a star was born, and it was Montoya.

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