‘I underestimated the grip’, admits Verstappen

2016 Monaco Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen admits that he was not pushing hard when he crashed out of Q1 in an accident that has doomed him to a pitlane start for tomorrow’s race.

The Red Bull driver clipped the inside barrier on the exit of the Swimming Pool, breaking the car’s suspension and spearing into the outside wall.

“I was not pushing to the limit,” explains Verstappen. “I just turned in to early. I mean, if you are pushing to the limit, normally you would go off the track or miss the corner, but I just turned in too early.”

Verstappen was slowest of the runners to have set a time in Q1 at the time of the accident and was attempting to set his first truly representative time of the session.

“Immediately on my first push lap I felt more confident than all the other laps,” says Verstappen.

“Also in terms of the car balance it was better – my second sector was immediately like two or three tenths quicker. So yeah, it was all coming together. But then into the chicane, I underestimated maybe a bit the grip I had and turned in a bit too early and then it all goes wrong.”

Verstappen will start from the pitlane for tomorrow’s race having been forced to take a new chassis following the collision. With overtaking so difficult around the principality, Verstappen is hoping for a potential rain shower to provide him with opportunities.

“Hopefully that would help a bit, but of course on this track it will be very difficult to overtake,” Verstappen says.

“I have to start from the back. Hopefully the weather will help a bit, but when you start there it will be very difficult.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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56 comments on “‘I underestimated the grip’, admits Verstappen”

  1. I think the word Max is looking for is “overestimated”. Had he underestimated the grip, he would have been slower than was possible, but had full control over the car. Credit to him for quickly owning up to his error; this will allow him to put it behind him and focus on the task of getting the Toro Rosso in a better position in the race.

    1. Nope, his words are correct. When you overestimate the grip, you think there’s more grip than there actually is and you’ll slide outward. He underestimated the grip, he thought there would be less grip than there actually was and that’s why he hit the inside wall after which his wheel suspension broke.

      And Toro Rosso? Have you been sleeping the last 3 weeks?

      1. @addvariety, what you describe sounds like oversteer/understeer, which is quite a different concept to over/under-gripped.

        You are, of course, correct that Max is in a Red Bull. I knew I was somewhat in denial over the whole incident but this is ridiculous *headdesk*

    2. I think he was allowing for more of a slip angle from the fronts than they actually gave him @alianora-la-canta. The front had gripped up and turned that touch faster that he was expecting.

    3. No, he underestimated the grip. He thought there was less grip than there actually was, causing him to turn in early in anticipation of understeer; because there was more grip than he expected, he turned into the barrier.

      1. @glue Yes, he thought there were less grip than there was, thus he _under_ estimated it.

        1. @losd It’s funny, because depending on how you phrase it you can use either over or under.

          HAR HAR, English is mean :c

    4. He overestimated his ability, and so is the F1 world at the moment.., he lucked a win though he is fast, he far from complete driver.. like a young FA and Senna or Ricciardo.. he hit the wall 3 times yesterday!!!

      1. But so did Vettel. Most acomplished driver on the grid.

        1. The same Vet who was spanked by Ric when he wasnt driving the fastest car on the grid

          1. @nosehair It’s worth keeping in mind how fickle the changes to the cars can be in terms of driver performance.

            In 2017 we are likely to see a significant change up of the pecking order, especially early on.

          2. Omg @nosehair. ‘Spanked’?? He JUST got his first pole lol. Come back with your argument when he has FORTY SIX

          3. Johannes he spanked SEB in the same car, were you under a rock in 2014???

          4. Agree Mike

      2. People like you make me laugh. You cannot “luck” your way to a win at such an early age. It takes skill to have that seat in the first place. There is a lot of competition. Sure. Mercedes screwed up, but that happens two or three times a year. He took advantage and drove a brilliant race. And if it didn’t happen this race, it would have happened soon anyway. Maybe Kvyat and Sainz could have done the same, but they were deemed not good enough. If you don’t like him or are that kind of guy who hates popular people to go against the grain, fine. But saying that Alonso, Ricciardo or Senna were complete drivers at 19 is just nonsense. Nobody is a complete driver at 19

        1. Melvin max did not get in the front of the race through over taking or great overtaking moves he got there through pit calls ..so it was luck..duh!!

          1. So you feel that there is no such thing as pit strategy?

        2. Luck? You missed his fantastic outside retake of Vettel in turn 3 on lap1!! Move of the year!
          And with help from the winning strategy, he managed his tyres best so the faster Kimi could not get to him.
          That is what won him the race, not much luck in there.

  2. A very, very grown up reaction from Verstappen. In his first interview with the Dutch media, he was asked straight to the point “We saw your car bottoming out much more than other cars, could there be another issue? Maybe related to hitting the wall in FP3?” Max: “No, I just turned in too early”.

    On the other hand, Monaco does seem to have a grip on him. Last year his crash with Grosjean, this year two crashes in FP3 and Q1. Let’s hope this is all a coincidence and he can try and grab a couple of points tomorrow when his teammate will win the race. Red Bull have already tactically won the race with Ricciardo started on super softs.

  3. Always a possibility, really. For me he’s still special, but I reckon the interest from Merc and Ferrari pushed Red Bull into promoting him a year or two sooner that they should have. I’m sure Helmut will forgive him. Once, anyway.

    1. Maybe he’ll hit Vettel in the race (twice) so they can promote Kvyat again.

      1. lol, well Kvyat was another example of a Red Bull promotion coming too soon, really. It was like when Seb suddenly announced his departure they just thought “hmmm… this inexperienced young RBR driver, or that one?” Then when it turned out he was too young, they did the same thing all over again. Though with Max they might get away with it, over time.

        There are more and more drivers this is happening to.

        1. True, and all because teams are becoming afraid of losing out on the best drivers. Just as McLaren now have Vandoorne signed with a clause in his contract that restricts him from signing anywhere else before October this year. Meaning they will most likely give him a contract in F1 and Jenson will need to find another race seat.

    2. That look on Helmut’s after the crash was precious.

    3. @lockup As long as they let him keep the seat in the Red Bull he should have time to mature. It doesn’t hurt to learn in a fast car (I.e. Lewis).

  4. From hero to zero, F1 is cruel and everyone remembers what happened only last.

  5. To the Max !
    28th May 2016, 22:41

    In Barcelona you don’t drive with such an amount of downforce as you do in Monaco, and after taking over Ricciardo’s set up today, it was the first time for him driving with that much grip, all the other cars he had driven up until now had less grip. He expected the car to slide a bit more to the side because of the lateral forces (you can point the car towards the guardrail and with some less grip the car slides past it, but with more grip it doesn’t).

    In qualifying you drive to the limit of the car but in the races to the limit of the tyres. He knows the tyres already, but he still needs to learn the car. In free practice, testing and the races you hardly drive to the limit of the car nowadays with tyres who can do only a single fast lap before overheating.

  6. Half the drivers in the field made mistakes today. His was more costly. And his response was exactly what you would want. From the pits, with a wet setup, who knows?

  7. I hope that this mistake will end the comparisons with Ayrton Senna. MV is very good, probably future WDC several times, but not that kind of special.

    1. The same Senna that crashed out in Monaco while leading, for no obvious reason?

      Everyone makes mistakes.

      1. it is not the same to crash after 50 laps an 80s turbo with manual gearbox that could be driven on the limit lap after lap, than to crash a RB that does not need to be pushed in Q1

        1. Because Senna certainly needed to push, he was only 50 seconds ahead.

    2. Senna used to crash a LOT. We remember him in his 30’s.

      1. @lockup
        Senna is a funny driver. It’s like he gets better with every passing year since his death.

        1. Senna was pretty hard to beat in the wet. Otherwise he was no better than Prost.

          He was however the absolute master of unsportmanship. In that he’s never been beaten. Not even by Schuey or Hamilton, though both have tried very, very hard.

    3. 18 yrs old

    4. pastaman (@)
      29th May 2016, 12:51

      Yes, because Ayrton never crashed ever….

  8. Senna crashed in Monaco when he had a confortable lead… comparisons or just a coincidence?

    1. @furtadodasneves
      Err… I don’t remember Verstappen leading the race in Monaco confortably before crashing … He simply crashed before accomplishing anything in Monaco. Like pretty much anyone else in the history in F1. If you really want to draw a comparison to Senna, you should try comparing their breakfast. They probably have more in common in this respect.

      1. Leading the race and crashing is even worst than crashing in Q1!

  9. ColdFly F1 (@)
    28th May 2016, 23:39

    What struck me most is that this means that in most cars you have to turn in early – straight into the barrier – and let a bit of understeer help you make the turn.
    How counterintuitive is that?
    Very impressive.

    1. @coldfly
      And at the exit of the turn you have to put the wheels straight ‘too early’ while you give throttle and let the over-steer finish the turn for you.
      In there lies something like a couple tenths per turn, and that is why you need to be a bit nuts to get a great laptime in Monaco (the technique is the same elsewhere, but instead of a barrier other circuits have another 4 meters of asphalt)

  10. Monaco is a real gauge of driver ability and concentration, so far hitting a wall 3 times in one day has shown Max’s inexperience

    1. pastaman (@)
      29th May 2016, 12:53

      Someone’s really got it out for Max…

  11. Well, at least he is honost about it. It was a very dumb mistake, especially in Q1 with the very fast RBR. It’s a shame, but it probably means more excitement in the race. But let’s not forget he is still in the process of getting comfortable with the car. That should not be an excuse, but in all fairness, he has earned some credit.

    Personally, I have actually made the same mistake myself in a go-kart endurance race. While comfortable in the lead, I turned in to early and hit the concrete (which actually hurt). For me it was a matter of losing focus, was driving on ‘auto pilot’, braked to early and just blindly turned in. Still won the race though.

    1. Maybe that iss why u aren’t driving in F1 Arahones.

  12. Wow, so the Wunderkid crashed, in the dry, in Q1 of qualifying. But I thought he was a driving robot sent from the future to win everything? Imagine the reaction if it was Ricciardo who crashed and Verstappen who got on pole, you’d never hear the end of it.

    1. Yep agree truegrit…he lucked a race win on strat, on a no overtake track that all of the bully/torro drivers could of won..
      And then on a track were it exposes true driving ability he hits a barrier 3 times…

      1. hahaha so much ignorance in 1 post Bogaaaa…..grtz

        1. Es l have followed f1 for 41 years and raced open wheeler for 23 years.. you can kiss my old flabby hairy cheesy ass any time you want..
          hitting barriers 3 times in a day is inexperience over confidience..and lack of ability.

          1. Mr. Booger it seems you didn’t learned to much out of it!

  13. Is it only me, but from the inboard camera it did look as if the suspension arm broke before the wheel actually kissed the barrier. I managed to stop the vid at what I think is the moment immediately before the tire touches the barrier and it looks as if there’s already a break as if the contact with the kerb had been too much for it. (Sorry, no Inkfrog or ImageShack account.)

  14. I would love to hear what Kyvat’s thoughts were when he saw Max making that mistake during qualifying.

  15. Impact the broke the arm

  16. To me the most interesting was Helmut’s facial expression, not the accident. Max was ok and that’s the most important thing. But, Helmut looked like all his family just died. My condolences then.

    1. Say no more about Ves

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