Verstappen unscathed after severe crash in Monaco
Published on 24 May 2015 by Mike Motilall
Max Verstappen, in his maiden Grand Prix in Monaco, didn’t make it to the finish line. Having impressed foe and friends earlier this week, by finishing high on the leader board, during the race, Max was also on a roll by clocking fast lap times. A troubled pit stop caused him to drop back considerably in the race. During the catch up that followed, Verstappen hit Romain Grosjean’s rear subsequently ending his own race as a result from the severe crash. Luckily, the Scuderia Toro Rosso-driver was able to get out unscathed. The race was won by Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes, team mate Lewis Hamilton was third. Sebastian Vettel completed the podium by finishing second in his Ferrari.
“It was quite a big one, but I am feeling fine,” Max explains to Verstappen.nl after the race. “I had a good start only I got blocked between Maldonado and Perez in front, but in general I was happy how the performance was. Then I took it easy in the first lap, stayed out of trouble and afterwards, I think we had a great pace with the car. I managed to pass Maldonado, after that we closed the gap to Perez. And I was really happy about the car, it was performing very well. Then we had a fuss in the pit stop unfortunately, so we dropped back quite a lot. So I had to fight my way forward, and I think that was going quite well. Then we had to pit again because I got stuck behind Bottas, because it is really difficult to get pass on this track. But on the super softs again we had great pace. I was catching up on Vettel, that was a very good feeling. But I decided to stay behind because it’s very easy to get pass other people. Then I got very close behind Grosjean, we were fighting for the last position and we crashed. The previous lap, I braked at the same point, but suddenly he braked earlier. You don’t expect that. And going that fast, being so close, you cannot avoid each other.”
Max starts from ninth and is able to keep that spot at the start, just like the entire top ten. Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg run into each other under braking at Mirabeau, causing the German to lose his front wing as he shot forward. The Spaniard is awarded with a five seconds penalty. But Hulkenberg managed to make it back to the pits. By then, Verstappen is on Pastor Maldonado’s tail. The Columbian is told to ‘lift and cruise’ in order to cool his brakes. Exiting the tunnel it is apparent that the Lotus is indeed suffering from a lot of brake problems. Max pushes hard and loses a section of his front wing in doing so. It makes no difference for the youngster as he is able to pass Maldonado at the end of the straight for eighth.
Sergio Perez is immediately told, by his team, that Verstappen will shortly appear in his mirrors. At that moment, Max’ lap times were second to none and was matching the top of the field. They were just slightly slower than both Mercedes and Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari. Slowly but surely the Dutchman closed the gap to the Mexican in the Force India. In lap 29 he brought it down to just one second.
In lap thirty, the youngster pits to swap the super softs for the soft compound tyre. The pit stop is not without troubles: at the back, they’re having trouble changing both rear tyres, causing him to drop back to the thirteenth position. The Toro Rosso was kept up a whopping 31 seconds in the pits. After Alonso parks his McLaren in Sainte Devote, this becomes the twelfth position. Not much later, Verstappen is on Valtteri Bottas tail. The team pulls Max away from the fight for an early second stop: he will have to do the last thirty laps on the super softs.
Max demonstrates how brilliant he is to be able to think on his feet, by sticking to Vettel, who is third but a lap ahead on the Dutchman. By making use of the blue flags in favor of the German, Max passes in one lap both Carlos Sainz and Bottas. Depriving them of the chance to defend their position. Overtaking the latter, Max is even bold enough to make use of the pavement, after which he tells his team that it would be best to stick to Vettel, as this will facilitate his overtaking of others. Lotus take heed of this and alert Grosjean to what the youngster is up to. The Frenchman listened carefully and cleverly lets Vettel pass without Verstappen being able to overtake him. The final point is at stake and a furious fight for the tenth position is a result of it. It all goes sour in Sainte Devote when Max hits the back of the Lotus, sending him spearing into the barriers. Luckily he is able to exit the car unscathed. After having been examined in the medical center, it is clear that Verstappen is ok.
During the safety-car situation, Lewis Hamilton is the only one, from the front runners, to pit and subsequently hand over his lead. He ends up behind Rosberg and Vettel and loses the race: in the seven remaining laps, Rosberg is cut loose from the duo and drives with ease to claim victory. His third consecutive in the Principality. Daniils Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull remain in front of Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari. Jenson Button finishes eighth and secures McLaren’s first points. Sainz, who had to start from the pitlane from missing the weighing during the qualification, drives his Toro Rosso to a decent tenth position, earning him the final point for the race.
Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco – Sunday 24 May
P Driver Team Time 1 Nico Rosberg GER Mercedes 1:49:18.420 2 Sebastian Vettel GER Ferrari 4.486 3 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes 6.053 4 Daniil Kvyat RUS Red Bull 11.965 5 Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull 13.608 6 Kimi Räikkönen FIN Ferrari 14.345 7 Sergio Perez MEX Force India 15.013 8 Jenson Button GBR McLaren 16.063 9 Felipe Nasr BRA Sauber 23.626 10 Carlos Sainz ESP Toro Rosso 25.056 11 Nico Hulkenberg GER Force India 26.232 12 Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus 28.415 13 Marcus Ericsson SWE Sauber 31.159 14 Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams 45.789 15 Felipe Massa BRA Williams 1 lap 16 Roberto Merhi ESP Marussia 2 laps 17 Will Stevens GBR Marussia 2 laps RT Max Verstappen NED Toro Rosso DNF RT Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren DNF RT Pastor Maldonado VEN Lotus DNF