After topping this morning's free practice session, Max Verstappen will start tomorrow's Monaco GP from P2, the first time in seventeen years for an Honda-powered vehicle.
The Dutch driver was signing what would have probably been his best lap in the session, when Q3 got red flagged because of Charles Leclerc's accident at Swimming Pool.
I’m happy starting front row, despite the unfortunate red flag. I was confident in the car and I felt like I was flying. We had a good recovery from Thursday and qualifying went really well 💪 #KeepPushing 🇲🇨 #MonacoGP pic.twitter.com/uiOquuvMWF— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) May 22, 2021
While obviously sad for not having another opportunity to improve his lap time, Verstappen was pleased with his and his team's work, as he said during the post session interviews:
“Of course, I’m disappointed not to have that shot at pole, but that’s life. Sometimes you can’t do it. It’s fine. I was one-and-a-half tenths up going into the tunnel and I knew on the previous lap I made a mistake at Turn 10, 11, where I lost more than a tenth, so I knew pole position was on."
Despite knowing that he could have signed a better lap, he doesn't want to dwell on the session and is already focusing on tomorrow's race: “Especially on the second timed lap, I had a lot more grip on the tyres, so even in the last sector there normally would have been an improvement. But that’s ‘would have, could have, should have’. I don’t really care about that. The fact is that there was a red flag, it is what it is.”
The Red Bull driver is extremely grateful towards his team, that worked hard to improve his car's performance after Thursday's not overwhelming practice session, in which his best result was a third place:
“I think everyone back at the factory and here at the track they did amazing job to basically give me the car that I wanted,” he said, “because we were quite far out on Thursday, which I didn’t expect. I really thought from the start that, just with the characteristic of the car throughout the year, it should be quite good around here. But luckily, we found it today."
As much as he's satisfied with his starting position, and especially with his main championship rival Lewis Hamilton rather behind in P7, Verstappen knows that nothing is set yet:
"It’s always important to score a lot of points, but of course you need to be ahead of your main rivals as much as you can."
All in all, and as pleased with his driving as he can be, the Dutchman concluded with an eye to tomorrow's race: "So today was good but, of course, we need to finish that tomorrow.”
🗣 "I think it’s been a very good weekend so far, we recovered well from practice and we’re starting on the front row tomorrow." @Max33Verstappen on #MonacoGP qualifying 🇲🇨👉 https://t.co/fOpR05K162 pic.twitter.com/eS6RBCE5Zd— Red Bull Racing Honda (@redbullracing) May 22, 2021