Monaco Grand Prix – Max Verstappen believes that traffic on his warm-up lap prevented any time gains in the final qualifying runs, forcing him to settle for third.
Red Bull Racing were expected to have more of an opportunity to battle at the front in Monaco, due to its lack of dependence on power units.
Verstappen’s threatened the top of the timings screens in practice and the early stages of qualifying, but ultimately he managed a time that was around half-a-second adrift.
Speaking after the qualifying hour, Verstappen conceded that he didn’t think Red Bull would’ve been able to challenge Mercedes for pole position, but believed that he could’ve closed the gap had his tyres been up to temperature on his final run.
“I think [the Mercedes] were a bit quick anyway,” said Verstappen.
“I think we were just missing that two or three tenths at the end. Q2 was a very good lap, but the tyres were switched on and around here when your tyres work that makes quite a bit of difference.
“For my final run in Q3 I had a bit of traffic on my out-lap and I started my lap and the tyres just went cold and I was already two tenths above [my previous time] so I decided to abort.
“In general we did a good job. I think coming into this weekend we had a feeling we weren’t going to be as strong as we were last year, but for myself, I think it was a good qualifying.
“This is my fifth year here but only my third qualifying, so it’s very good to be here!”