Verstappen and father explain why Monaco was “turning point” on route to title

2022 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

The Monaco Grand Prix was a pivotal moment on Max Verstappen’s route to this year’s world championship, according to the driver and his ex-F1-driver father.

Verstappen finished third in the race, which was won by his team mate Sergio Perez. But Verstappen and father Jos have explained in a new documentary that from this point in the season Red Bull began improving the car in a way which allowed the champion to get the best from it.

“Where I see a turning point, also in the way Max was going, it was after Monaco,” said Jos Verstappen in Viaplay’s Lion Unleashed 2.

His son arrived in Monaco at the top of the championship standings with a six-point lead over Charles Leclerc, and Perez a further 19 behind.

“He had difficulties with the car, and the car wasn’t going well for his liking,” Verstappen’s father explained. “After Monaco we really pushed hard, together with the team, and I think they went in the right direction to solve that problem for him.”

The car was slowly developed “more in his way”, most of which was down to “set-up and weight” as Red Bull shed kilograms from a car that had begun the season over the minimum weight limit.

Verstappen said he was pleased with the changes made with the car after the Monaco race. “We had a good discussion after Monaco about what I needed from the car and what I wanted from the car,” the world champion explained.

“The beginning of the season, the car was not really of my liking, but that was also because of the weight of the car was in the wrong place as well.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“So the more we were getting rid of the weight, the more the car was anyway becoming more competitive. And this is also the way I like the car to be. It was just slowly coming into my kind of driving style to go quick. So that definitely helped me a lot afterwards.”

Red Bull responded well to his requests, said Verstappen. “It was just saying like ‘guys, we have to be a little bit more focused on what we actually need from the car now, we need to really get rid of the weight, we know it’s really painful’ and I just said ‘I need a strong front end, and we have to work on that’.”

The weekend also appears to have been a flashpoint in the relationship between Verstappen and Perez. Later in the year Verstappen turned down a request to help his team mate, a move which was interpreted by some as being retaliation for Perez’s crash in the final stages of Q3 in Monaco, which ensured he started ahead of his team mate at a track where passing is notoriously difficult.

Perez rose through the field to win as Red Bull capitalised on Ferrari’s strategic errors in a race which began on a wet track. The following day Verstappen’s father criticised Red Bull’s handling of the race in an article on the family’s website.

“Red Bull achieved a good result, but at the same time exerted little influence to help Max to the front,” he wrote in May. “That he finished third, he owes to Ferrari’s mistake at that second stop of Charles Leclerc. The championship leader, Max, was not helped in that sense by the chosen strategy. It turned completely to Checo’s favour. That was disappointing to me, and I would have liked it to be different for the championship leader.

“Perez actually won the race because of the earlier pit stop. The team can perhaps explain that as a gamble, but they had already seen, with for example Gasly, that the intermediates were the best option at that time. I would have liked them to go for Max, but of course I am not entirely objective. I think 10 points from Max have been thrown away here.”

Verstappen and Perez will continue as Red Bull’s drivers for the 2023 F1 season.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2022 F1 season

Browse all 2022 F1 season articles

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

25 comments on “Verstappen and father explain why Monaco was “turning point” on route to title”

  1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    28th December 2022, 13:42

    Sounds to me like the car was redeveloped to suit Max. Clearly Red Bull is a one driver team with Checo as Max’s wingmate. No one has been able to drive that car since 2018 other than Max which is exactly how the Verstappens like to compete. Tons of talent as long as they have a 10 yard advantage.

    1. @freelittlebirds

      Sounds to me like the car was redeveloped to suit Max.

      This is factually true and explained in the article, so no arguing here. The second part of your comment insinuates that the car was not only designed to suit Max, but also deliberately designed to not suit the other driver. This is just your opinion. I think that Red Bull’s main goal was to make the car faster in general, but that Red Bull focussed on Verstappen’s driving style more than Perez’s style while doing so. I don’t think that there was a malicious intent, but merely a focus on the driver with the highest potential. And it appeared a smart move by Red Bull to redevelop the car to suit Max, because he paid the team back with 11 victories and another championship after Monaco.

      1. I feel you’re completely wrong and maybe biased on the part where you mention that red bull didn’t develop the car to suit verstappen more than Perez. From witnessing this season and the comments from red bull senior staff there was clearly an effort to make the car more suited for Max. At one point in the season, Perez even made the claim that he’s not as comfortable because the development of the car is more suited to Max’s driving style, which appears to be opposite of his own. The fact that Sergio was close to beating Charles with a car that didn’t suit him kinda shows that he had it in him to actually win the championship. Maybe not as dominant, maybe max would’ve still been a factor with a car more suited towards sergios style, all maybes because we never got to witness that. I don’t mind Red Bull favouring Max, or developing the car to his preference rather than Sergios. What I do have an issue with is red bull and the verstappens pretending they didn’t do that. Because everyone else who follows the sport can see they clearly did. Marko at some point countered Perez’s claims that they developed the car to Max’s liking which even Max is claiming to be the case now. Why would you lie about it if that wasn’t the case? I’m not saying Sergio is a better driver than Max, anyone can hardly say that, but he sure would’ve had a much better chance at the championship had he been given the same accomodations that Max was. I mean the dude was asked to give way to Max as early as the 6th race of the season in Spain WHILE HE WAS STILL A CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDER. I don’t care about the fact that Max beat checo as much as the Verstappens and Red Bull trying to paint it as it wasn’t because they took the development away from checo. They did. Everybody saw that. And the Verstappens for some reason are still salty about Monaco, even after one of the most dominating championship displays ever.

        Scumbags in general tbh. Checo deserves better.

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        29th December 2022, 14:08

        @matthijs excellent points – I think we may both be right here. The intent was clearly to prioritize Max as the de facto #1 driver since 2018 onwards. It’s a strategy that has paid off for Red Bull although it did require some intervention from the governing authorities to produce the intended results.

        1. Max is Red Bull’s number 1 driver because he is far superior to any team mate he’s had (especially since he matured later in 2017/early 2018). Why would a team design a car that is restrictive to their best driver’s talents. Even with the car not suited to Max, he was outperforming Perez more often than not.

          Same logic as above applies to Hamilton, Alonso, Schumacher… any elite/team-leading driver.

          1. José Lopes da Silva
            30th December 2022, 16:52

            The point of people complaining about Max having a car designed for him never reaches there because it does not suit their agenda and is very hard to ear.
            Unfortunately, they never bring the real reason for Red Bull designing the car to suit Max. Jos Verstappen does not own Red Bull. Jos Verstappen did not hire a hitman to threaten Christian Horner or Helmut Marko. Jos Verstappen does not have compromising videos of Christian Horner or Helmut Marko.
            The real reason is obvious and you have stated it in plain sight.

            I only disagree regarding the maturing. I think Verstappen was more than ready in early 2018 to mount a title challenge. He was just taking too much risks. After Monaco he just stopped doing it.

          2. petebaldwin (@)
            1st January 2023, 17:05

            Yep – it’s very easy to explain when you don’t have to marry it up to an agenda. The number 1 driver in a team gets priority when a decision is going to benefit one driver or the other. As Mercedes have demonstrated for most of the past decade, it’s more effective to have a clear number 1 and number 2 in the team because it allows you to tailor the car to your number 1 driver – when you have a really quick driver, a really quick car and the car is tailored to their requirements, it’s an almost guaranteed win.

  2. In hindsight I can understand why the Verstappens weren’t too happy for P3 if the other car was capable of winning the race. It was only the seventh round, with more than two-thirds of the championship still to raced, and Leclerc and Ferrari seemed serious threats in the long term, “losing” points could have been costly at the end.
    I also can understand after winning the title last year they thought Verstappen should be able to capitalize on the better strategy if Red Bull splits the drivers. But I also think that a team’s primary goal for a single GP is to maximize their collective efforts, possibly finish in a 1-2, take away as many points as possible and take away as many points from the rivals as possible. And in that regard Red Bull excelled, “losing” only 3 points. Of course the story could have been different if Perez doesn’t end Q3 the way he did, or if was not raining, or if touching the pit exit line is judged differently, or if any of the relevant pitstops happen a single lap earlier or later, it’s just too many ifs, and even if Verstappen could have easily collected more points that day, so could have their closest rivals.

  3. Itsmeagain (@)
    28th December 2022, 15:13

    @freelittlebirds you see what you wanna see. If the same happens at MB we don’t hear anyone on this at this place. We all know what Bottas was for Hamilton. The perfect wingman. The boardradio messages have shown enough. Even when he got his teamorder in the fourth race in 2021 (spain) there was total silence here. When RB did their first teamorder a year later at the same race….the negative comments on that where booming here. It seems you have. That Max wasn’t happy with the carsetup the first races and that they fixed that seems not sufficient as an answer.

  4. Robert Henning
    28th December 2022, 15:26

    I tend to agree with Jos’s point on prioritizing Max and taking development towards Max.

    At the end of the day you need your car to be more faster than the competition. If the development towards Max achieves that it is up to Perez to adapt. And RB had a rocketship at Spa and generally really competitive and marginally quicker cars at most circuits after Spa. I’d say 8/9 tracks post summer break RB were the team to beat and they won all of them.

    And Max has shown he can take up a title fight to even the Mercs and come out victorious, while his teammate in the same car was fighting in the midfield and getting knocked out in Q1.

    Prizes are higher at the top.

    P1 + P4 is worth more than P2 + P3

    1. “And Max has shown he can take up a title fight to even the Mercs and come out victorious, ” with breaking the rules by Masi, and Perez used whole year to fight Lewis aswell.

      1. You missed the whole cost cap thing where they also went over budget

      2. Nah, the rule break at abu dhabi was really minor compared to the points lost through bad luck, not to mention it’s not like bottas didn’t try to do the same that time he was sent back just before verstappen, he just isn’t good wheel to wheel.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          1st January 2023, 17:06

          He did alright in Hungary….

  5. He just won the most dominant season in f1 history but the child is making this scene because of his team mate?
    Grow up.

  6. I think this article puts a tombstone on the argument that ‘this car is not developed to suit Maxi driving style…’

    1. I don’t know who argues that? I assume every team tries to develop their car to suit their top driver. To do otherwise would be foolish with a view to the WDC.
      However, to develop the car to the intended detriment of the other driver as some claim sounds like a silly conspiracy theory to me. First, it would rely on the drivers actually having inverse preferences for certain car characteristics. Second, it would mean that an F1 team is actively decreasing their own total points haul and standing in the WCC. Sounds very, very farfetched to me.

      1. Thinking about developing the car to the intended detriment of the other driver is silly at best.
        I think that the real interesting outcome is the practical impossibility to compare two drivers of the same team and put to rest the idea that you can tell who is the best driver between two teammates as they have the ‘same equipment and treatment’.

        1. I tend to agree, although if two drivers have close enough driving styles it can still happen. After all, we have had close seasons between team mates before (e.g. Rosberg/Hamilton 2016).

      2. Indeed, it’s a conspiracy theory and that’s it, if you think about it, with the so-called car developed towards verstappen, perez was still able to challenge leclerc, and take for example spa, he still managed to come 2nd while starting behind sainz, he managed to hold off leclerc, so seems like it was still a good development direction for him.

      3. Alejandro Hernández
        30th December 2022, 0:05

        Pérez stated that right away, Helmut Marko lied publicly denying it.

    2. Doesn’t matter because Verstappen was clearly the faster driver both in qualifying and race trim prior to Monaco.

      1. Alejandro Hernández
        30th December 2022, 0:09

        It does, cause clearly they made checo’s only purpose to develop the car for max. While lying to the public.

    3. José Lopes da Silva
      29th December 2022, 0:19

      Verstappen has explicitly claimed that telemetry data is shared both ways in Red Bull, and he mentioned that with previous team mates. It’s up to Ricciardo, Gasly and Perez to claim otherwise.
      The prevailing argument is that Verstappen’s mates are treated the same way Jos, Lehto and Herbert were treated at Benetton. So far, no evidence for that.

  7. A heavy car is useless to any driver. A. Fast car is not useful for all drivers, not all seemingly can keep up.

Comments are closed.