Wednesday May 23rd, 2001
By Alan Baldwin
World champion Michael Schumacher made clear on Wednesday that he would not get sucked into a war of words with Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya.
Montoya, in his debut Formula One season with Williams, has been held up as pretender to Schumacher's throne and has already had two notable skirmishes with the German.
In Brazil, the 1999 CART champion brazenly overtook the Ferrari driver to lead the race while in Austria they clashed again as Schumacher was trying to squeeze past after being left behind from pole position. Both cars almost came to a halt as Montoya held his line and locked the brakes, allowing others to speed through.
Schumacher suggested after the Austrian race that Montoya had not been looking where he was going but later tempered his comments after reviewing the incident on video. Montoya has meanwhile made it abundantly clear that he is overawed by nobody on the grid.
"The media build up a fight between him and me. What happened on the circuit was racing," said Schumacher in the Monaco Grand Prix paddock on Wednesday. "He is a very good driver and he has proven this.
"I look forward to a competition with him but I will not go into verbal discussion. This is what the media wants. Maybe he wants it, maybe he is looking for it. But I will be clever enough not to go in for it," added the championship leader.
Montoya, who finished second in Spain but has otherwise had five retirements, appeared in a news conference earlier and made clear that he was not concerned about the incident in Austria.
"There's nothing really to clarify," he said.