Verstappen: Red Bull off to ‘very weak’ Monaco start

Max Verstappen finished third and fourth in Thursday’s two practice sessions and was 0.4s off surprise pace-setter Charles Leclerc at the end of the day; “So far it’s the most difficult weekend,” says Verstappen, who trails Lewis Hamilton by 14 points in the championship

By Matt Morlidge

Last Updated: 20/05/21 6:43pm








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Max Verstappen gave this thoughts after a tough Thursday practice session ahead of the Monaco GP

Max Verstappen gave this thoughts after a tough Thursday practice session ahead of the Monaco GP

Max Verstappen says Red Bull “need to improve a lot” before a crucial qualifying day at the Monaco GP after describing the team’s start to weekend as “very weak”.

Red Bull arrived for the famous F1 event as one of the big favourites having gone well around the Monte Carlo streets for many years, while they also have a much more competitive 2021 car compared to Mercedes.

But while Sergio Perez topped Thursday’s first practice, Red Bull finished the day with an alarming 0.4s gap to surprise pacesetters Ferrari.

And their star driver Verstappen, who is hoping to cut Lewis Hamilton’s 14-point title lead, finished only third and fourth in the two opening sessions.

“We are too slow,” said Verstappen. “Not just a little bit, I think quite a bit.

“We have to really find some pace, because everyone has traffic so you have to look more to optimum lap times, optimum sectors, and we are quite off.

“It also didn’t feel great to drive. Normally I’m quite comfortable in the car, quite easily get to a pace but it all takes too long and just not how I like it. So far it’s the most difficult weekend.”

Verstappen admitted he was “surprised by how competitive Ferrari is” after Charles Leclerc led a one-two for the team who are currently fourth in the constructors’ standings.

“I think that just shows how we are pretty weak,” added Verstappen. “They’re doing very well and we’re very weak, so the offset is very big.

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Karun Chandhok was at the SkyPad to analyse Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton’s fastest laps during Practice Two ahead of the Monaco GP

Karun Chandhok was at the SkyPad to analyse Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton’s fastest laps during Practice Two ahead of the Monaco GP

“Luckily we have a free day tomorrow so we can look into things, but a lot of things need to change.

“The gap they have is big around here. We need to improve a lot to match that.”

Sky F1’s Monaco GP schedule

Friday
10.40am: F2 Sprint Race One

Saturday
7.10am: F2 Sprint Race Two
10.45am: Monaco GP Practice Three (Session starts at 11am)
1pm: Monaco GP Qualifying build-up
2pm: Monaco GP Qualifying
4.05pm: F2 Feature Race
5.30pm: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook

Sunday
12.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday
2pm: THE MONACO GRAND PRIX
4pm: Chequered Flag
5pm: Ted’s Notebook
9.30pm: Monaco GP highlights