Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2022

“Extremely gifted” Verstappen still has room for improvement – Monaghan

2022 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen still has room to improve as a driver despite clinching his second world championship with a dominant performance this year, says Red Bull’s head of car engineering Paul Monaghan.

The world champion scored his 14th win of the season at the last race in Mexico, breaking the record for most victories in a single year. Monaghan said his technical abilities showed the benefit Verstappen gained learning from his father, former F1 driver Jos Verstappen.

“Max is technically extremely gifted,” said Monaghan. “He did a lot of work as a youngster, often guided by his father, and you can see the legacy of that.

“He knows what he’s talking about within the car and he knows what he wants. And with his engineers, they know how to deliver a car that he finds nicely balanced, not necessarily easy to drive, but drivable, looks after its tyres well enough that he can manage a situation.”

Verstappen has won more than half of all races since the start of last year as he’s taken two world championship titles. “If you look at his record over the past seasons he’s been with us it’s stunning,” said Monaghan. “He wouldn’t achieve that if he wasn’t an exceptional driver.”

However Verstappen hasn’t reached his full potential yet, Monaghan believes. “Can he improve? Yes, of course he can. He might not thank me for saying that but I think there are areas he can get a little bit better.

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“He’ll dig into himself and think what could he do better through a season and it’s up to us to give him a car to go and demonstrate those skills next year.”

Verstappen is “technically extremely gifted” – Monaghan

Verstappen will start today’s sprint race at Interlagos from second on the grid. He was unexpectedly beaten to pole position by Kevin Magnussen as rain and a red flag meant drivers had just one chance to set a lap time when the conditions were at their best.

Sergio Perez will start from ninth place in the other Red Bull. His Q3 lap was compromised as he was held up by Charles Leclerc.

Monaghan believes the team are in good shape for the weekend as they seek their 10th consecutive win. “I’d say the car is performing reasonably well.

“We were a little bit unlucky with the Checo-Charles situation yesterday, which is going to be a bit more painful for those two, but Max seems reasonably settled with the car. It’s not perfect, he will always seek improvement, we can see areas we would like to improve obviously we’re bound by parc ferme regulations so we will do our best to operate and get the most out of it. I think we’re reasonably settled.”

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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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9 comments on ““Extremely gifted” Verstappen still has room for improvement – Monaghan”

  1. Be afraid F1 and Liberty, be very afraid. The best driver in F1 history hasn’t reached his peak yet and you can be 100% sure all his rivals are scared of what is about to come.

    1. Let’s just wait until he gets 6 WDCs with Red Bull and we can say it’s all about the car.

  2. MV is a very talented driver, but so far as “gifted” goes, Masi gifted him the first championship, RB cheating gifted him the second. It will be interesting to see what happens in a more ‘normal’ season.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      12th November 2022, 21:44

      He will have almost certainly got the 2nd without the ever so slight advantage red bull had. That wasn’t what gave him such a massive lead in the standings.

      Last year he certainly deserved it and was more unfortunate than hamilton in the year with more DNFs and bad luck. The way he won was wrong but the fact he won the championship was fully deserved both times.

      1. Just saying @thegianthogweed, if the rules had been followed in AD, Max would have finished second on the day, so would not have won the championship. But he got ‘gifted’ a win by Masi. He did nothing wrong himself.
        This year, in an amazing Adrian “Genius” Newey car, seconds ahead (once it worked properly), super driving by him, but it turns out they spent more than they should have developing it. It was ~$400k more than the rules allowed. In an era of tight budgets, a few hundred K makes a big difference. Again MV did nothing wrong, no criticism of him, but he was ‘gifted’ a better car.
        And MV is clearly the number one favoured driver in that team, look how badly they treat SP.
        A normal year would be one where all the contestants play by the SAME rules. Maybe 2024?
        I expect MV will do very well, maybe multiple championships. He is certainly talented.
        Don’t forget there are other drivers who also have talent and potential, but have not been ‘gifted’ unfair advantages.

        1. A few hundred k doesn’t make a big difference, if it did you wouldn’t have teams like renault being 1 sec slower with the same budget as the top ones, or viceversa, haas, alfa, williams would be further back than they are. You need 10s of millions to make a significant performance difference, based on the budgets around atm.

    2. @biker56

      RB cheating gifted him the second.

      That’s a hell of a stretch. And I say that as not great fan of MV.

  3. I have an opinion
    13th November 2022, 0:20

    Verstappen has room to improve. He could drive as fast as he is now, but for much less money.

    1. If RB paid him less, they would not value him as much, so would not favour him as the ‘golden chosen one’ so much, and we might then see better racing if SP got an equal car. I like it!

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