For the first time this year, Max Verstappen will start a Formula 1 weekend as the world championship leader. The Limburger has turned a 46-point deficit on Charles Leclerc into a six-point lead, making it easy to say he has the momentum on his side. “But I don’t really feel that way, you also need a bit of luck for that,” said Verstappen in the press conference. “The race in Spain was very hectic and we didn’t really get the speed over a lap. Charles also kind of ran away from me in the early stages before I went off the track and had all sorts of problems for the first 30 laps.”
Verstappen points out that momentum is a relative concept and that Red Bull still have areas for improvement. The performance at the weekend is part of it, but undoubtedly also the qualifying speed. So far Ferrari had the upper hand on Saturday, after which Red Bull was able to hit back several times on Sunday. In Monaco, however, this kite does not rise immediately. Because overtaking has proven to be almost impossible on the famous street circuit, almost everything revolves around qualifying 24 hours earlier, as Verstappen also knows.
“We all know that Saturday in Monaco will be crucial so we have to focus on speed over one lap. We will put the absolute focus on that, just like everyone else,” said Verstappen in response to a question from Motorsport.com knows. “You just need it here, you have no choice. If you see where Ferrari has been good this year – in slow corners and with a lot of curbs – they should be good here too. But we just have to focus on ourselves and make sure we find a good balance.” The words about Ferrari also raise the question of what Red Bull can do. Is the difference in the setup or is it simply the characteristics of the RB18 and the F1-75? †I don’t really know if it was attitude so far or something else. Of course, if we had known that, we would have done better.”
Is Monaco still relevant in F1?
If qualifying is disappointing, the forecast rain on Sunday might still be a small lifeline, but is Verstappen actually waiting for it? “It really depends on qualifying. If you have a good qualifying session, you want it to stay dry and you want it to be extremely boring on Sunday. If you don’t have a good qualifying session, then of course you want a storm, lots of rain and slippery “Then a lot can happen, but even then it can still be bad for you. After all, you can hit a wall yourself, Monaco is easy in the rain very treacherous.”
Treacherous is the code word for drivers in Monaco anyway, although the race is usually not the most exciting for the TV audience. The question arises whether this historic Grand Prix should still have a place in modern Formula 1, although Verstappen certainly has a clear opinion on it. “Well, let me put it this way: if they came up with the plans for Monaco now – layout and stuff – that race would be off the calendar. But if you look at the historical value and the great weekends we’ve had here so far this race should definitely be on the calendar, the cars we have today are a bit too big, too long and too heavy for this one layout, but Monaco is still special so I think we should keep racing here.”