Max Verstappen has had an impressive season so far, achieving already as many victories as he had in the whole 2020 championship after only five races, and being constantly on the top steps of the podium. The Dutch driver is, for the first time in his F1 career, on top of the driver's standings, with a four points advantage on Mercedes's Lewis Hamilton.
His second win of 2021 came in Monaco, a track quite unfriendly to him in the past, where he suffered from two consecutive DNFs in 2017 and 2018, and was his first podium in the principality.
Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko is extremely satisfied by Verstappen's much more " mature" attitude in leading races, and highlighted his Sunday disciplined performance in a post race interview to Sky Germany.
“He has certainly reached a different level of maturity. We kept him on his toes with fuel modes and such. He had to understand quite a lot."
Marko added that the race winner would have liked to go for the fastest race lap extra point,in order to increase the gap with Hamilton. The team, however, stopped him from doing so, both so as not to risk his first place, especially after the power unit issues experienced in the final laps, and because the British driver had an extra pit stop for a new set of red tyres, that allowed him much faster lap times, not obtainable by Verstappen.
“When he started asking who had the fastest lap and with what time, we immediately blocked him and told him: ‘Forget all that!’”
Marko was also pleased with Verstappen performing well for the first time on a track where, in recent history, Red Bull have often dominated, with Webber, Vettel, and Ricciardo all winning in Monaco.
"We haven't had a podium here yet [with Max], although we've had a car that can win twice - Ricciardo proved that, after all," he said.
He believes that the satisfaction for this accomplishment will help the Red Bull driver to improve his confidence and his morale, especially for the upcoming race in Baku, another track where the Dutchman has struggled in previous seasons, but where his former teammate Daniel Ricciardo had secured a win in 2017.
“I think that gives him another boost of relief. It should make his performances even more confident and controlled. That was also very, very important for the future."
You're soooo Monaco, @Max33Verstappen 🏆🇲🇨 The highlights from our weekend in the principality 👇— Red Bull Racing Honda (@redbullracing) May 26, 2021