Monaco Grand Prix – Max Verstappen said that the late red flag in qualifying means the lap time gap to Ferrari looks worse than it really was.
The reigning champion hadn’t really been on the pace of the Ferraris or teammate Sergio Perez throughout the weekend but the Red Bull driver said that he had figured things out by the end of qualifying and was up on his previous time before the red flag came out.
Perez’ crash had been caused by his tyres being too cold and Verstappen said that was also a problem for his car but that deciding to do two quick laps on his final run was helping that issue.
“I chose a different strategy,” Verstappen told Sky Sport F1, “where I was going to do two fastest laps instead of just for the single time because I couldn’t get the temperature in my tyres. My second lap time, I was on a decent lap, I was two tenths up on my own lap time but then of course I went into Turn 7, saw the yellow flag so I had to back out and then there was a traffic jam, the track was blocked.”
The Dutchman’s final attempt for pole was also disrupted last year when there was a late red flag but said that was just what happens in Monaco and that the best he could’ve hoped for this year was P2.
“Second time now in two years that in Q3 the second run there was a red flag but that’s Monaco you know, that’s what happens when everyone is trying to really go to the limit and then of course a mistake can happen. I mean, I wouldn’t have fought for pole because I think Charles and Ferrari, they were way too strong the whole weekend, but second was on.”
Cold tyres weren’t Verstappen’s only issue, his Team Principal explained that he had been losing a tenth at turn 1 compared to his rivals but the Dutchman said that having the second fast lap allowed him to rectify that.
“I fixed it in my final run, I was faster in my final run through turn 1 so it was just on that single timed lap I couldn’t get it together. I think at the end I was maybe not entirely happy with the car but also I have to find my own strategy with the tyre warmup and stuff. It was actually coming together for that final run, just couldn’t show it so then of course it looks a bit more dramatic but it is what it is.”
For the Grand Prix however, with some rain potentially on the cards, Verstappen would like the weather to shake things up but knows that maximising his points on a less than perfect weekend is most important.
“It depends on what the weather will do. A little bit of chaos would be nice but if it’s not then you try to score the most possible points in my position where I will be but overall it’s been a little bit more of a tricky weekend.”