Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monaco, 2021

Verstappen convinced pole was possible before Leclerc crash

2021 Monaco Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen is convinced he was quick enough to take pole position after being unable to complete his final flying lap in qualifying.

Charles Leclerc took pole position for Sunday’s race after crashing on his final run. That led to the red flags being shown, which forced Verstappen and several other drivers to abandon their final laps.

“It was unfortunate, of course, with the red flag because I felt really comfortable in qualifying just building up to it,” said Verstappen. “I think nobody was really putting a lap time in on the first lap, and that’s how we basically planned it out, to do basically two laps, and then your third lap is the fastest.

“It was all going really well, but of course the red flag ruined the chance for pole, but we’ll see. Nevertheless, I think so far, a very good weekend. We recovered well from from Thursday, so not too bad.”

Verstappen fumed when he was told to abandon his final flying lap in qualifying. “That was definitely on because I made a mistake in turn 10 the lap before and I just had more grip,” he told his team on the radio.

Race engineer Guillaume Rocquelin told Vettel he’d been “one-and-a-half [tenths of a second] up on the exit of [turn] eight.”

Team principal Christian Horner reassured him that he was still in a good position compared to his championship rival Lewis Hamilton, and pointed out Leclerc may incur a grid penalty through repairs to his car.

“It could be a chassis change, Max,” said Horner, “and you’ve got Lewis down in P7.”

“Of course it’s easy to have a red flag, but you don’t expect it,” Verstappen reflected out of the car after the session. ” So, of course you always plan around the best possible strategy. And it was working out well. It’s just a shame about the red flag.”

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2021 Monaco Grand Prix

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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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12 comments on “Verstappen convinced pole was possible before Leclerc crash”

  1. Agreed. Latin’s side-by-side analysis shows that he was already up on Leclerc by the time he got to the tunnel. It’s a shame it ended with a red flag.

  2. He had a purple S1, so very possible, although not a given.

    1. He has purple sector one on his actual time, he was faster there, so that doesn’t mean much.
      S3 was where he was losing most of the time.

      1. That was s2 from what I saw, 3 tenths, in sector 1 he had like 1,5 tenths and last sector they were even.

  3. I think Verstappen should be more worried to have Bottas at his side than Leclerc up front.

    Bottas is the loose canon tomorrow. Nothing to loose, lots to prove, best chance to beat Hamilton fair and square. I can see him throwing his car at any opportunity knowing that Verstappen can’t afford a crash.

    1. My thoughts exactly.

    2. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
      22nd May 2021, 16:25

      On the contrary, he might let Verstappen get away and back the rest of the pack up so that the championship race closes up. If it indeed is his last year at Merc, expect him to get under Hamilton’s skin whenever possible.

    3. I’m not sure that Bottas is still capable of being aggressive.

    4. if there’s a guy i know is going to be over cautious is Bottas. He simply doesn’t have this on him.

      His defeat to Vettel on completely shot tyres in Bahrein 2018 the best example.

    5. Your argumentation leads to my conclusion that he therefore even more carefully will manage his track position. He simply cannot afford to crash. If Bottas crashes, his season is over

  4. Di Resta was on point in the post qual interview of Verstappen why they just didn’t go for their optimal 3-lap run on the first run.

    Personally I believe Bottas would have taken pole as Verstappen was overdriving on his 2nd to last attempt as we saw, and Mercedes needed more laps to get heat into the tyres.

  5. Race engineer Guillaume Rocquelin told Vettel he’d been “one-and-a-half [tenths of a second] up on the exit of [turn] eight.”

    There’s a typo here, would be surprised if verstappen’s engineer talked with vettel!

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