Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Monaco, 2019

Verstappen: Penalty “fired me up” to attack Hamilton

2019 Monaco Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen said his penalty for tangling with Valtteri Bottas in the Monaco Grand Prix spurred him on to attack Lewis Hamilton for the lead of the race.

“It fired me up,” said Verstappen. “As soon as I heard the penalty I was just pushing Lewis really hard.

“Initially he was driving so slow, and then I heard I had the penalty, so I just kept pushing him and then of course he had to push because otherwise I would attack him. And then he destroyed his tyres. So that was my only way of trying to get by.”

Verstappen wasn’t able to pass Hamilton despite making contact with the Mercedes as he tried to claim the inside line at the chicane. The Red Bull driver said he didn’t blame his rival for the collision.

“I couldn’t really plan because I was always so close at the hairpin but then all the time out of turn eight we just lost that momentum. At one point I said ‘OK, let’s just have a go and see what happens’.

“And then of course we had this little touch. But under braking you normally don’t look in your mirrors already and they are anyway difficult to see through. So I think there was no one to blame, also we didn’t have any real damage.”

The Red Bull driver said his fifth appearance in Monaco was his best so far “in general”. He doubts he could have done more to pass Bottas earlier in the race when the pair went side-by-side into the first corner.

“There was nothing else I could do, really,” he said. “I was boxed in. I could run into the side of him but you have the risk of having a puncture or a penalty so I was just doing my line. I tried of course to brake deep into the corner, try and get ahead but around Monaco that’s anyway very hard.”

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21 comments on “Verstappen: Penalty “fired me up” to attack Hamilton”

  1. Interesting that he needed something extra to try to win.

    1. Being very aggressive in Monaco is normally rather pointless.

    2. Of course he didn’t. The penalty simply changed his tactic because he needed more than just a win, he needed a 5 second gap as well. As he did even just to podium. So there was urgency to his strategy. Had he been in a legit second place with no penalty looming he wouldn’t have had to throw caution to the wind, and would have still kept LH in sight albeit LH driving at a slower pace, both drivers with tires in better shape in the end. He would have hung back more as is common to do in F1 and then selected his times to go after LH and not risked ruining his own tires in the process. There’s also the fact that LH was on softer tires than him and thus had more potential for his tires to fail if pushed. Of course LH didn’t have dirty air negatively affecting his tires though.

    3. It would change anyones approach. The penalty changed his risk/reward ratio.

      Without the penalty, trying an overtake (or pushing Hamilton and risking a crash) could result in him losing a pretty much guaranteed 2nd place. And the reward could be gaining one position (albeit a victory).

      With the penalty, that same risk could result in a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place vs a pretty much guaranteed 4th place, or even worse if there were a safety car near the end and maybe 6 or 7 cars could get within 5 seconds behind him. If he’d passed Hamilton at some point the race win was very possible.

      1. True too.

    4. F1oSaurus (@)
      31st May 2019, 20:59

      Without the penalty he could have taken an easy P2, but instead he was left with a P4 with a chance of a P1. So yes, it does up the ante quite a lot.

  2. I see that VER is going for the proverbial gap.
    but by now, he has been failing to capitalize.
    Most of the cases, he ended up the loser and/or just ruined the opponent race.

  3. I think that VER calculation – even intuitively – is computing the eventual benevolence from the marshalls – as seen in the unsafe release in monaco.
    Marshalls may not be prone to favor VER, but I think that marshalls will allow for something that bring some emotion to the race, even if this means to look over some excess.
    I mean, contact between MER-RB will be treated as good for the show and punished less harshly compared to a VET-VER incident.
    Disclaimer: I can’t read minds but I think this makes sense.

  4. Imagine how boring F1 would be right now without Verstappen. He is the only source of spark in a dying sport.

    1. If Lewis had the proper hard tyres Max wouldn’t have known where Lewis went.

      1. Not so sure about that. It’s possible that Max still would have pushed LH and both would have gone faster and Max could have retained a five second gap or more to third place and held his second place on the podium. Or if that was the case LH might have backed Max into SV and VB anyway so the five second penalty would put Max off the podium. It just felt like LH was holding Max up, so I think if LH had hards on Max would have been lapping faster too.

        1. @robbie True, it would also have been in Hamilton’s interest to open a gap and ensure Verstappen came between him and Vettel (and, let’s be honest, Bottas).

      2. @greenflag
        That has nothing to do with my post. We all know that Mercedes has the best car by a big margin.

        1. @kingshark

          I think you need to be gentle with this one. Max has been snapping at Lewis’s heels since he entered F1 in an inferior car. Has beaten him fair and square on several occasions. Bound to ruffle some feathers. This is how Chelsea fans felt when Man City got more money.

      3. @greenflag

        Sure Lewis has the faster car by a lot. Although that’s not stopped Max beating him in the past.

        1. F1oSaurus (@)
          31st May 2019, 21:00

          Only in races where Red Bull had the faster car though.

          1. Lewis only beaten Verstappen if he had the faster car

          2. F1oSaurus (@)
            1st June 2019, 12:54

            No, that’s exactly where you are utterly wrong. Verstappen puts it in the wall, racked up penalties or hit other drivers quite often.

            People think it’s all so easy when you have the fastest, but where was Verstappen when Ricciardo won those races in his Red Bull? Yes, nowhere.

  5. No one to blame? For his failing to meet the braking point and almost taking Lewis out of the race (if not for Lewis’ doing, of course)? Really? No one to blame?


    1. @esteban

      failing to meet the braking point

      Is that a quote? Or did he just choose to brake late? Sorry I had to work after the race and havn’t read all the interviews.

    2. F1oSaurus (@)
      31st May 2019, 21:02

      Yes, and how did Verstappen react to the same move when Ocon pulled it on him in Brazil?

      It’s hilarious how Verstappen was on the radio that Hamilton “turned in” on him. Although to be honest Hamilton did look like he was playing with Verstappen. Going quite wide almost taunting him to place an attack while in the braking zone already squeezing a much tighter line than usual, all so Hamilton had an excuse to straight line the chicane

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