Max Verstappen believes that third was the best he could do in today’s Monaco Grand Prix.
The reigning World champion was one of the most eager of the drivers to start the race when it was delayed because of poor weather conditions, but when the action did commence, he was unable to make traction through the order until he picked up third place after Ferrari wasn’t ready to give Charles Leclerc new tyres after being told to stay out just as he came into the Ferrari pits.
However, Verstappen was unable to make further progress through the field as he stayed in third at the checkered flag whilst teammate Sergio Perez just clung on for his maiden Monaco victory.
In the FIA’s post-race press conference, Verstappen states that he couldn’t do better than the final place on the rostrum, but he remains pleased with third as he extends his championship lead over Charles Leclerc to nine points.
“I did the best I could, of course, after yesterday. Once you got blocked by with that red flag in qualifying, you start fourth. I tried to do the best I can. I think as a team, we did a really good job with the strategy to basically get ahead of the Ferraris. And yeah, I think as a whole team we can be very pleased with the Sunday. I mean, it was a very hectic one with the rain and stuff, but I think we executed it well, and I extended my points lead, which I didn’t expect last night, so I think that’s a positive.”
“But it’s all about just trying to maximise the result, and I think, as a team, we did that today. We had good pace. I mean, all the laps I had in clean air, they felt right. And then the call to go with the Medium at the end was quite risky, I think, compared to just staying on a hard tyre. Especially also because I think we didn’t really know how many laps were going to be left. But I saw that the two cars in front of me started to grain a bit. Checo has quite a lot of front graining, and Carlos was struggling a bit with the rear. And yeah, from my side. I mean, it’s just impossible to pass.”
Throughout the Monaco weekend, Red Bull seemed to be playing second fiddle to Ferrari over one lap, with Leclerc topping three of the four timed sessions, and during the press conference, Verstappen admitted that the Maranello based outfit was quicker throughout the weekend. But with conditions proving to be extremely difficult to predict in Sunday’s race, strategy came into play. However, Verstappen said the team’s strategists did well to stay relaxed when making tough decisions.
“If you just look at single-lap pace, I think they were they were faster than us. Long run around here is very difficult to say because nobody really pushes, of course, even in practice in the long runs, because it doesn’t really matter. It’s all about qualifying. And it doesn’t really matter if you’re fast in the race because you can’t pass anyway. So difficult to tell. But yeah, today was really about strategy and making the right calls. And I have to say the team was very relaxed and on it with their calls. Like very straightforward. There was no doubt: it was like ‘pit now, we go on this tyre’; ‘pit now again we go on this tyre’. They did a really good job with that.”