Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monaco, 2023

Verstappen ‘risked everything’ in last sector because he knew Alonso’s time was faster

2023 Monaco Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Max Verstappen says he “risked everything” at the end of the lap which put him on pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver said he knew he was behind Fernando Alonso’s lap time as he headed into the final sector of his lap. He touched the barrier in the Swimming Pool section and again at the exit of Anthony Noghes as he snatched pole away from the Aston Martin driver by less than a tenth of a second.

Verstappen was consistently quick in Q1 and Q2 but was on the back foot in Q3 as a succession of drivers went faster than him before his last effort. “I just struggled a bit to put it in the first lap with warm-up with the tyres and just putting it all together, all the sectors,” he said.

“But I knew that the last lap I had to do it because they improved and I also knew going into the last sector I was down on them so I had to push flat-out in the last sector, risk everything to get back the lap time and luckily we did well.”

He admitted he “touched a few guardrails and walls” as he blitzed the final sector to claim pole position. “I was always quite quick in the last sector but I definitely pushed a bit harder in the last lap.”

The beginning of Verstappen’s final lap was slightly compromised as he wasn’t able to prepare his tyres the way he wanted to. “I had to drive a little bit slower than I would have liked because unfortunately there were a few cars in front of me who I think aborted maybe and then went again,” he explained.

“It definitely wasn’t an ideal start to the lap. So maybe that’s why my sector one was a little bit down and then it all started to come up, because it’s all about confidence as well around here.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“When you don’t feel like the tyres are fully ready, you don’t hit the brakes as hard into turn one and everything is a little bit compromised. So a lot of things come into play to have a perfect lap here.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monaco, 2023
Gallery: Monaco Grand Prix qualifying day in pictures
While several other drivers did their final laps earlier in the session, to avoid the potential risk of a late red or yellow flag, Verstappen took a chance on running at the very end. “It was just how I thought we would have the best chance of putting it on pole,” he explained.

“Every car reacts a little bit differently with how the tyres warm up over a lap and for us that was the right choice to do it like that.”

His third pole position is also the 24th of his career. He said it doesn’t rank among his best “but it was good enough and I’m just happy to get my first pole here.

“It’s always super hectic. Finally, we also had clean running in Q3 as well, so that was nice for everyone to just push to the limit. The whole qualifying I think went pretty well.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 Monaco Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 Monaco Grand Prix articles

Author information

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...

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

5 comments on “Verstappen ‘risked everything’ in last sector because he knew Alonso’s time was faster”

  1. It really felt like an all-or-nothing sector, even by just looking at the cameras.

  2. That lap looked scrappy, but if it gets you pole and the parts that took the hits get replaced, you’re golden.

  3. Amazing laps by both Max and Nando. Great qualifying. Although obviously I wished it was Alonso on pole.

  4. Knows where the bin is and where the win is.

  5. I was excited for an Alonso pole when Max had a slow first sector, but geez he pulled a rabbit out of his hat in that final sector. I was left stunned.

Comments are closed.