“We didn't deserve to be in there” - Max Verstappen gives brutally honest assessment of Red Bull’s performance in Monaco

F1 Grand Prix of Monaco - Qualifying
6th placed qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing talks to the media in the Paddock after qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco on May 25, 2024 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Max Verstappen believes that Red Bull Racing’s performance in the Monaco GP did not deserve a spot in the press conference. Speaking to media including Sportskeeda after the race, the Dutchman suggested that their car lacked pace and their race was ruined due to the free pitstop.

Asked by Sportskeeda if he would prefer to be in the press conference after races since he did not like doing open media sessions, Max Verstappen felt he didn’t deserve to be there. Apart from his retirement in Australia, this is the first race where the Dutchman finished outside the top three which meant he would have to face the press for a longer period in the media pen.

The racer felt that their car lacked pure pace and the free pitstop during the red flag thwarted any chances they had to jump positions using pitstop strategies during the race. Answering Sportskeeda’s question on returning to the press conference and being motivational enough to make sure he did not finish outside the top three, Max Verstappen said:

“No, I think it's more just the pure pace of the car that we need to work on. Of course, I would have liked to be there, but we didn't deserve to be there, you know, this weekend. So that's how it goes.”

Explaining his race in Monaco, he added:

“I mean, of course, after the red flag, our strategy was a bit ruined, because then we had to put the medium to the end because everyone had a free stop. And that meant that we had to save a lot. And yeah, I just tried to follow George.
We were massively off the pace, just trying to manage the tire. And that, of course, is quite boring. We're driving literally half throttle on the straights in some places, ... than you would normally do. Yeah, four seconds of the pace more or less.”

Max Verstappen raises concerns about Red Bull RB20’s performance in the 2024 season

Max Verstappen claims Red Bull Racing are not aware of the problem affecting their car’s drivability at circuits with abrasive asphalt and a bumpy surface. He qualified sixth while his teammate had qualified 18th for the race. But the RB20 was bouncing around the circuit and lacked pace compared to the Ferraris and McLarens.

The reigning champion reckoned that problem was similar to the Singapore GP last year where he could not finish higher than fifth in the race. He claimed that the team are clueless what the problem is and that it could persist at circuits with a similar layout and surface.

Asked about the weakness of their car and whether it could be resolved this season or next year, Max Verstappen said:

“Well, we first need to understand what it is we don't know at the moment.”

Asked whether it was similar to Singapore last year or worse, the Dutchman replied:

“I mean, I think both of them were pretty bad, so like I said, we don't know what the issue is yet, so that is what we need to understand first.”

Asked if the problem will persist in the upcoming races, Max Verstappen said:

“Any track that is bumpy or has curbs, well, you have to ride a lot of curbs. So yeah, a few street circuits probably will be a bit tricky. But hopefully by then we have a bit more of an understanding of what is going on.”

After the qualifying session, Max Verstappen came out describing his car to be a ‘go kart’ where it was bouncing all around. In the practice sessions, he was heard telling his engineer he felt like a kangaroo bouncing across the track.

Many observers suggest that the ride height and complex design of the RB20 have an inherent flaw which was exposed in Singapore last year and led to an exposed Achilles heel. Since the Red Bull drivers were not challenged as closely in 2022 and 2023, the problem existed but did not impact their result significantly.

In the 2024 season, with their rivals closing in and the margins coming down to fine tenths, a flaw such as this would be encouraging for their rivals but a reason for worry to them. Up next is the Montreal circuit, where they could struggle again. The Spanish GP might be better with a more conventional layout and their upgrades scheduled for the weekend.

Max Verstappen now leads Charles Leclerc in the championship by only 31 points and Red Bull Racing are only 24 points ahead of Ferrari. Sergio Perez is already out of the top three, where he has been eclipsed by both Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz, dropping him to fifth place in the drivers standings.

Both Red Bull drivers have now had a retirement each this season and there have been four different race winners in the first eight races.

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