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Max sixth in Monaco GP qualifying: 'The car is just difficult to drive'

Published on 25 May 2024 by Florence Cobben

Max Verstappen has qualified in sixth place for the Monaco Grand Prix. After an exciting qualifing session, it was hometown hero Charles Leclerc who claimed pole position. He’s joined tomorrow on the front row by Oscar Piastri, with teammate Carlos Sainz in third. Max’s Oracle Red Bull Racing-teammate Sergio Perez qualified eighteenth.

“I was actually quite surprised we were as competitve as we were. We tried everything this weekend to come up with a succesful plan, but nothing worked. The car is just difficult to drive. When you look at Checo, that says it all. He is normally great on street circuits, but when you’re eighteenth and sixth, it shows that we had pretty dramatic problems”, Max explains after qualifying.

“I tried to get everything out of the car, but it’s so nervous. At every bump that you hit a bit wrong, the car acts up. I didn’t hit the wall hard, but immediately I lost three-tenths. Then I thought: nevermind then.” Max elaborates: "I can’t drive over any curbs. We’re driving a fairly stiff car. As a result, you quickly lock an inside wheel. Of course, that also makes it harder to turn fast in the tight corners. It's all very sensitive."

In sunny Monaco at 16 o’clock local time, the first cars appear on track for qualifying. Considering the Monaco race track is infamous for being difficult to overtake on due to it’s narrow streets, it could be the most important session of the weekend. Daniel Ricciardo kicks off the session with a 1:14.3 time, but it isn’t long before others drive better times. Lando Norris, Yuki Tsunoda and Lewis Hamilton all prove their mettle, with Max eventually taking first place with a time of 1:12.7.

Following Max, first place gets passed between drivers at an ever increasing pace. The surprise of the session is Haas. Not only Nico Hulkenberg (P14) but also Kevin Magnussen (P12) go on to Q2 and consistently show up at the top of the timesheets. As the end of Q1 draws near, Max is in seventh place. He is two-tenths slower than George Russell, who is the fastest driver of Q1 with a 1:11.492 time. The losers of Q3 are Fernando Alonso, Logan Sargeant, Sergio Perez, Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu.

Q2 starts with the remaining fifteen drivers immediately taking to the track. Max starts his qualifying well and sets a time of 1:11.1. Only Carlos Sainz is faster, but improves on Max’s time with a minimal nineteen-thousandths of a second. Later, the worldchampion improves his time to 1:11.09, reclaiming first place. Still, his lap is not quite good enough. In the closing phases of Q2, drivers are setting times in the 1 minutes and 10 seconds ballpark. Although Oscar Piastri is the first driver to dip below 1:11, he finishes Q2 in third. He is just 24 thousandths slower than teammate Lando Norris, who set a time of 1:10.732. It is Max who splits the two McLarens, with a 0.013 gap to Norris. The last five drivers who don’t proceed to Q3 are Esteban Ocon, Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll and Kevin Magnussen.

In Q3, the fight for pole position begins. Hamilton kicks off the session with a 1:10.9 time, but Leclerc and Piastri show off to the crowds by both setting times under 1:10.4. Max warms up his tyres in a different way. He takes an extra outlap to get his tyres in the sweet spot. Verstappen’s first lap secures him third place, just half-a-tenth behind Leclerc. But Max doesn’t get the opportunity to improve on his time: he hits the wall in his second run and aborts his lap. Meanwhile, Sainz, Norris and Russell manage to complete their laps, demoting Max to sixth place. Pole position goes to childhood rival Leclerc. He is one-and-a-half tenths faster than Piastri, who will join him on the front row.

Contest GP Monaco: win a by Max Verstappen signed Racing cap!

Results qualifying Monaco:

1Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:11.5841:10.8251:10.270
2Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes1:11.5001:10.7561:10.424
3Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:11.5431:11.0751:10.518
4Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:11.7601:10.7321:10.542
5George RussellRUSMercedes1:11.4921:10.9291:10.543
6Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:11.7111:10.7451:10.567
7Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:11.5281:11.0561:10.621
8Yuki TsunodaTSURB Honda RBPT1:11.8521:11.1061:10.858
9Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:11.6231:11.2161:10.948
10Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault1:11.7141:10.8961:11.311
11Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:11.8871:11.285
12Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari1:11.8761:11.440
13Daniel RicciardoRICRB Honda RBPT1:11.7851:11.482
14Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:11.7281:11.563
15Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:11.8321:11.725
16Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes1:12.019
17Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes1:12.020
18Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:12.060
19Valtteri BottasBOTKick Sauber Ferrari1:12.512
20Zhou GuanyuZHOKick Sauber Ferrari1:13.028