Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monaco, 2021

Monaco is Red Bull’s “most difficult weekend” so far – Verstappen

2021 Monaco Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen believes Red Bull are facing their most difficult weekend of the season so far after setting the fourth-fastest time in practice for the Monaco Grand Prix.

He set a best time of 1’12.081 on the first lap of his qualifying simulation in the middle of the second practice, despite catching Mick Schumacher at the end of his lap. It left him second-fastest behind Carlos Sainz Jnr at the time, though Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton later went faster than him.

Verstappen told his engineer he was having difficulty keeping his rear tyres cool and lacked front grip.

Speaking after the session he admitted: “We are too slow, and not just a little bit, I think quite a bit.

“So we need to really find some pace. Everyone has traffic so you have to look a bit more to optimum lap times, optimum sectors, and we are quite off.”

The Red Bull driver said he doesn’t have the same confidence in his car that he has enjoyed in recent races. “It didn’t feel great to drive,” he said.

“Normally I’m quite comfortable in the car, quite easily get to a pace. But it all takes too long and just not how I like it. Maybe so far the most difficult weekend.”

Like the Mercedes drivers, Verstappen was also taken aback to see two Ferraris at the top of the times on Thursday afternoon.

“I’m surprised how competitive Ferrari is,” he said. “But I think that it shows that we are pretty weak. They are doing very well and we are very weak, so the offset is very big.

“Luckily, of course, we have a free day tomorrow so we can look at things, but a lot of things need to change out there.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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20 comments on “Monaco is Red Bull’s “most difficult weekend” so far – Verstappen”

  1. Curious.
    It looks like a bluff, but it is also true they didn’t look like they did in previous races.

    Let’s see how the picture will look like after Q3

    1. RandomMallard (@)
      20th May 2021, 18:59

      I don’t think the running today, especially in FP2, was very representative. RB never got a clean lap in on the soft tires, so we don’t really know what that pace is going to be yet.

    2. Maybe, next to some motor guys, they also hired the PR sandbag spinner from Mercedes?

    3. not a bluff, they lacked grip especially Max, both drivers were pushing hard, quite puzzling. merc were effortlessly fast. Ferrari was always going to do well, the car is good on traction and under the brakes.

  2. So Mercedes will now burn midnight oil for two days to come up with brand new setup and Hamilton will ace Q3.

    If Red Bull want to be title contenders they need to improve by a lot to saturday. We can be certain Mercedes will do it.

    Ferrari maybe have a car suited to the track, shorter than the Mercedes F1 yacht?

    1. Anon A. Mouse
      20th May 2021, 20:15

      Other than some sliding around into the chicane and into the last couple of corners, it was less a setup issue for Hamilton and more of a traffic issue. Subtract traffic and heavy fuel loads, Mercedes is probably handily in front.

  3. It is kind of a must win race for Redbull. Even Horner admitted it that they have to win this one. And Max is already feeling the pressure of the expectations.
    Ferrari are genuinely looking very quick here. Big opportunity for the hugely talented Charles and Carlos to get a big result here.

    1. Max was mostly complaining about understeer and tyre temperature, not pressure

  4. This is the race for Max to win and Ferrari to keep Mercedes out of the podium, just like it happened, with roles reversed, in 2017.
    He better win this one if he intends to mount a challenge.

  5. I don’t feel he is the kind of guy to make up stories like this. So I think it’s not some kind of bluff.
    I’m hoping for a 6 way fight for pole, that would be great. I fear Merc has plenty of sand bags though

  6. Hopefully it’s just a setup thing they can fix and not a car weakness thing. I don’t think they can afford to be the third slowest car for even one race in terms of the championships.

    1. Yes, mercedes could afford that but figure out it happens.

  7. We are too slow, and not just a little bit, I think quite a bit.

    Formula 1 Thursday analysis taking fuel loads and tyres into account puts them ahead by a tenth on Mercedes and Ferrari. So yeah again fastest.

    Red Bull are the worst sandbaggers. It’s funny how Red Bull always comes out as fastest in the analysis even when they are slower in the timing sheets. They seem to put in more fuel even when going for a quali run. AWS catches them out there though.

    At least Mercedes is right that other teams are contenders and even ahead. Their cars essentially are, but if the drivers mess it up throwing away so many wins like Ferrrari in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and Red Bull this season, that’s not due to the car being “slower”.

    1. @f1osaurus

      They seem to put in more fuel even when going for a quali run. AWS catches them out there though

      I don’t think I have seen an accurate AWS prediction on car performance since it began. All ‘calculations’ included about fuel loads is complete guesswork.

      1. @asanator I have only seen it be spot on.

    2. Yes Ferrari was quicker in 2017 2018 and 2019. And RB is this year. Mercedes wasn’t even close to quickest car…nehh…
      Man…get a life.

      1. @theredbaron OK thanks that you finally agree.

        1. Absolutely no trace of objectivity. Peculiar self-image and sense of reality lost. Your comments on this site are constantly highlighted from one side.
          I am a Ferrari fan, realist and a racing enthusiast. I love a good race from any car or person. Do you really love the sport or are you on the payroll of Mercedes’ digital army?

          1. lexusreliability?
            21st May 2021, 18:31


            Wonder if you think the Verstappen and Red Bull cheerleaders are also annoying?

  8. @lexusreliability
    Also very annoying. Wonder if you agree with f1saurus or want a discussion with an objective fan.

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