Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monaco, 2024

Red Bull vulnerable in Monaco ‘unless we’re at our very best’ – Verstappen

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by

Championship leader Max Verstappen expects his Red Bull face a tough fight to win the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend.

Despite winning last weekend in Imola, Verstappen came close to being beaten by McLaren’s Lando Norris who finished less than a second behind him.

Red Bull’s early advantage over their rivals appears to have been cut significantly over recent rounds. Verstappen suffered his first defeat in a race he finished in 2024 in Miami, where he was beaten by Norris.

Although Verstappen managed to take pole position in Imola and hold off Norris over the closing laps, Verstappen expects a different dynamic this weekend in Monaco.

“It’s a completely different track,” the Red Bull driver said. “I think looking at the track layout, it’s probably not going to be our best track, just because our car normally struggles a bit over bumps and kerbs.

“We did work on it a bit compared to last year. I think so far, on most of the tracks that we’ve been to, our low-speed performance has improved a little bit. But I don’t think this is going to be a very easy weekend.”

Red Bull have won the last three Monaco grands prix in a row. Verstappen scored two of those wins, in 2021 and 2023. However he said “Monaco never is very straightforward, even when you are supposed to have the best car.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“Monaco’s a very tricky track to get everything to work, get the tyres to work in a quali lap, for example. Red flags – there’s always a lot of disruption and a lot of things can go right, but also a lot of things can go wrong.

“So we just need to be honest. Of course, Imola started off really bad and we managed to turn it around. I wouldn’t want to have a weekend like that again – it’s quite stressful and not nice. But we know that this is a more difficult track for us, even though we have won here in the past. It’s quite complicated. So we’ll see where we’re at tomorrow.”

As the ultimate outlier circuit on the calendar, Monaco can produce unexpected results – such as Alpine’s Esteban Ocon qualifying and finishing third in the event last season. Verstappen says he expects Red Bull will face intense competition from their rivals in Monte Carlo.

“I mean naturally from our side, I think it is one of the more difficult tracks for us,” he said. “In the last few years, I think Ferrari has always been very, very strong here. Plus McLaren, lately, their last two races really ramped up in performance. So they for sure are the ones to watch as well.

“In Monaco, you might have some surprises – last year Esteban did an amazing lap as well in qualifying. So these kind of things in Monaco, they can happen when someone feels really good and confident. So we’ll see what happens.”

Red Bull have dominated the last two championships, with Verstappen winning both drivers’ titles with relative ease. However, he does not expect to enjoy a major advantage over Red Bull’s rivals over the races to come.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“I think after Miami, it was quite clear when we went into Imola that it had all closed up quite a bit, even though Imola was probably also not our easiest weekend,” he said.

“It will depend now who will put more performance on the car, find the best possible set-up on the car. But for sure things have closed up, which – I think from our side – makes it very important to try and be at our very best – 100%.

“I know that is not always a very realistic possibility, but you always try to get to a certain point and maybe the last few races we haven’t been operating at that. Every single weekend we try again and try to find the best possible set-up in the car. But for sure you can see it’s definitely closing up.”

Despite the level of competition increasing, Verstappen remains confident in Red Bull’s ability to hold onto their lead in both championships even if they are caught by their rivals.

“Being at the front for quite a few years as a team, the way we operate, I think it can make a difference to teams that are trying to chase that,” he said. “We just try to stay calm and collected.

“We know that the last few races, teams have been catching up or have beaten us. Of course we want to try and improve as well, but I do think with the experience that we’ve had over the last few years, it makes us a very tough team to beat in the championship, because we don’t make many mistakes.

“Naturally you try to always optimise everything and that’s, I think, life in general – you keep on learning, you keep on trying to be better. But I think that does make us very dangerous in a championship fight.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2024 Monaco Grand Prix

Browse all 2024 Monaco Grand Prix articles

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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

25 comments on “Red Bull vulnerable in Monaco ‘unless we’re at our very best’ – Verstappen”

  1. David (@davidjwest)
    23rd May 2024, 16:57

    If it’s wet he will struggle but otherwise it’s Max on pole pretty much for sure.

    1. why would he struggle in the wet? Can you eloborate?

    2. I actually expect it to be the other way around. Vulnerable in the dry but less so in the wet.

  2. Why can’t I log in? I’ve been on this site for years.

    1. The same issue equally affects everyone.

    2. I cannot login either.

      Also I am a Supporter ad free. But, I can’t login, so ads all over.

      Tried to contact Keith, not sure if he received my messages.

      1. I try to contact him also today i send him a e-mail which i hope can reach him. Also a paid supporter and this ads are terrible.

        1. So true @macleod

          My next payment for ad free is around the first part of June.
          Hoping this is fixed before the bill is sent!

    3. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
      24th May 2024, 8:50

      Actually the log in does seem to work for me, but only after I make a post.

      I use a browser called “Brave”, the logo is a red lions head. It automatically blocks ads on all sites including this one, and YouTube! It’s much better than the mainstream browsers.

  3. Max was never phenomenal at Monaco track. He is not a match to one’s like Senna or MS on this mickey mouse track.

    1. Verstappen literally had a phenomenal qualifying lap last last year, what are you talking about?

      1. One lap in then years. Oh that’s awesome dude!

        Jenson Button did a phenomenal lap there too, once. Does that mean he’s phenomenal in Monaco then?

  4. Gotta pay attention to those Aston Martins, they’re looking fast.

    1. The bookies are laying 50/1 for an AM pole, do you know something we don’t? Cos I’m interested!!

      1. An Sionnach
        23rd May 2024, 21:08

        I’m not a betting man, but at 300/1 and 500/1 respectively, Lance and Yuki look like good value. Oscar doesn’t seem to be appreciated enough, either. If the McLarens run well and the Red Bulls don’t, I could see qualifying being between him and Leclerc.

        1. Oscar doesn’t seem to be appreciated enough, either.

          I agree. Still learning, but I would suggest he’s showing more raw talent than the other side of the garage.

  5. So only a 40 second win this weekend then. Thank god for the Indy 500!!

  6. I’m exclusively watching the Lance $troll on boards, that’s where the fun is!!

  7. Just gotta be at the front when it matters – last thing on Saturday – like he was at Imola.

  8. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
    24th May 2024, 8:46


  9. Very funny indeed. If you think a lap time only 0.086sec faster than Alonso (at the age over 40 while driving an aston) with the most dominant car in f1 history is phenomenal, then how should we describe the qualification lap times of Senna or Schumacher’s 0,3sec faster against drivers who used faster cars.

    1. most dominant in wins but not in qualy laptime, in fact this is the closest era in F1 ever

      1. Indeed. Last year, Piastri was knocked out in Q2 with +0.487s. There is really no point to compare these days to the Senna or Schumacher era.

    2. Also I couldn’t find a qualy where Schumi was 0,3 sec quicker than the fastst car in Monaco.

      1. “Also I couldn’t find a qualy where Schumi was 0,3 sec quicker than the fastst car in Monaco.”

        1996 Monaco Qualification Results
        M.Schumacher 1:20.356
        D.Hill 1:20.866 +0.510sec.

        Yes it was over 0.3sec, may be just may be this is the reason you couldn’t find.

Comments are closed.