Juan-Pablo Montoya has delivered a stinging rebuke to the sport that delivered him seven grand prix victories, 13 pole positions, twelve fastest laps and no fewer than 30 podium finishes, blasting Formula 1 as 'boring' and claiming that as far as the Americans are concerned, Lewis Hamilton is 'Lewis Who?'

The famously outspoken Colombian competed in 94 starts in the top flight for BMW-Williams and McLaren-Mercedes from 2001 to 2006, before dramatically walking away mid-season just under two years ago to return to his roots across the Pond, where in 1999 he had sensationally clinched the Champ Car (then CART) laurels for Chip Ganassi Racing in his maiden campaign in the open-wheel series.

Montoya now races in the NASCAR Nextel Cup, and as such has become the only driver in history aside from the legendary Mario Andretti to have won races in F1, CART, the IndyCar Series, Grand-Am and NASCAR, with his sole triumph to-date in the latter coming in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California last year.

Indeed, the 32-year-old's 2007 performances were impressive enough to earn him the coveted 'Rookie of the Year' accolade, and - reunited with Ganassi since his return Stateside - he clearly does not regret making the move.

"Formula 1 drivers are convinced that they're so much better than anyone else," Montoya told The Times. "When I was in F1, every week I was on the podium. It was cool, but is it satisfying? It wasn't, because it was the most boring races.

"The guy who started in front of you would drive away from you, and the guy who was behind you would drop away from you, unless you [had] f***ed up in qualifying - and then you needed to have a different pit-stop strategy to beat them.

"It's boring. It's a shame, because the technology these cars have and the amount of companies that are involved is unreal. I don't know how big companies do it for such a long time without results."

Whilst he acknowledges results can sometimes be just as hard to come by in his current position, the big, brash appeal of the US' premier stock car series is evidently very much to Montoya's liking, with overtaking less of an art form and more of a past-time as up to 40 cars go wheel-to-wheel for three hours solid. What's more, 17 of the nation's top 20 best-attended sporting events are NASCAR races, and the sport is the second-most watched on American television.

"It's harder here," argued the Bogota native, currently sitting 19th in the championship chase out of some 67 fierce competitors. "When you run 15th, sometimes you think it sucks, but look at the big picture - 15th here is like sixth or seventh in F1, because there are twice as many cars.

"The incredible thing is here I run 15th or 20th on average, and there are four or five weeks in the year where I have a chance of winning. In F1 if you run sixth or seventh, you run sixth or seventh the whole year.

"It doesn't matter if you're running for the lead, or for 30th, you're always racing somebody [in NASCAR]. That's much better."

Montoya also pointed out that such is NASCAR's incredible popularity in the States, F1 barely raises a flicker on the interest scale, and whilst he rates his McLaren successor Lewis Hamilton as a 'good kid' and a 'nice guy', he is blunt in pointing out that: "Go ask anybody here who is Lewis Hamilton. Lewis who?"

Chip Ganassi team-mate and former Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti - who joined NASCAR from the IndyCar Series this season, but was almost immediately out of action with a broken ankle sustained in a 180mph collision at Talladega back at the end of April - echoed Montoya's sentiments.

"It's been a tough baptism," reflected the Scot. "I thought it would be difficult, but I didn't realise how difficult. The good thing is I feel I know a lot more now about what to do.

"For anybody that loves cars, it's entertainment that's second-to-none. If you want exciting racing, to watch people driving cars that are very difficult to drive, this is the answer."

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