Remember when Montoya made magical memories in CART with Ganassi? (VIDEO)

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Juan Pablo Montoya’s initial two-year foray into North American open-wheel racing was a stunning arrival.

The Colombian, loaned out to Target Chip Ganassi Racing from Frank Williams after winning the 1998 Formula 3000 championship, starred from the get-go. His rookie season in CART, he won seven races and the championship.

In 2000, with a completely different Lola-Toyota package after the team switched from the all-conquering Reynard-Honda, Montoya still was frequently the out-and-out fastest driver but often a victim of poor luck and unreliability. But he still had two magical 500-mile race wins, first a the Indianapolis 500 in May and again after a fantastic battle with Michael Andretti at Michigan, a race that featured the aero-assisting Handford Device that created a wealth of passing.

Here are some of the highlights of Montoya’s first two years in open wheel, with the news today he’s coming back to IndyCar in 2014 with Roger Penske.

1999: Target ad: Meet our new driver

1999: Target ad: Teammate Jimmy Vasser gives advice on a new car

1999: Montoya wins his first race at Long Beach

1999: A fantastic pole lap at Detroit, with great sound

1999: Another win at Mid-Ohio

1999: Target ad: Midseason, Montoya well on his way to the title

2000: Indianapolis Motor Speedway video looking at JPM’s rookie win at the 500

Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
Clive Rose/Getty Images,
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SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was investigated for a potential safety car infringement but still kept the win after a 5-second time penalty for dropping too far back after being warned.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.