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Max Verstappen sixth in Monaco: 'Red flag made it really boring'

Published on 26 May 2024 by Misha van der Kroon

Max Verstappen finished the Grand Prix of Monaco, which turned out to be an uneventful parade through the streets of Monte-Carlo, in sixth place. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) managed to convert his pole position into a win, ahead of Oscar Piastri (McLaren) and Ferrari-teammate Carlos Sainz. The race was red flagged after the initial start due to a serious crash between Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen (Haas), and when it continued after the restart, it was an extremely boring race.

“That red flag completely destroyed any kind of strategy, it was really boring. I just tried to save those tyres to the end. Did anyone fall asleep?” Max asks jokingly.

Max continues: “Russell drove very defensively towards the end of the race, because the medium tyres are more fragile than the hard tyres. You can’t overtake here anyway, so I had to drive the same pace as Russell did. When Hamilton pitted, we were able to pit as well. I managed to stay ahead of him, but in the end it did not matter. It seems like you have to be 4 or 5 seconds faster per lap to be able to make a move around here and overtake someone. It was just very boring.”

“It was a difficult weekend, one to quickly forget, but also one to learn from” Max summarizes. “The only positive thing that comes out of this weekend is that we understand what our big weakness is, and that’s what we really have to work on. I think that if we can solve that, or at least make it decent, we immediately gain a lot of lap time, and that is promising. But in terms of results and experience, I have very little emotion about this race.” 

After a difficult qualifying, Max starts the race through the streets of Monte-Carlo from sixth place. Verstappen and the both Mercedes drivers start on the hard tyres, while the rest of the top ten have put mediums on their car. Before the first lap of the race is completed, the red flag is waved. 

After a few corners, Carlos Sainz made contact with the McLaren of Oscar Piastri, and with a puncture the Spaniard’s race ends in turn four. At the same time things go wrong at the end of the field: Kevin Magnussen tries to put his car between Perez and the wall, and touches the Mexican’s rear wheel. A chain collision follows and Perez’s RB20 is reduced to a pile of scrap. The hard crash causes three wheels and both wings to fly off, but the Mexican driver fortunately gets out of the car unscathed. Magnussen’s car is also out, and Nico Hulkenberg also got caught in the collision and is out of the race. 

Both Alpine drivers also run into each other: Esteban Ocon drives over the front wheel of his teammate Pierre Gasly. The red flag is waved, and during the 45 minutes it lasts, the mess on track is cleaned up. 

At the restart, everyone chooses to change tyres. Max and the Mercedes drivers are on medium tyres, and the rest of the top nine have chosen for the hard compound. When the lights go out for a second time, polesitter Charles Leclerc manages to retain the lead, ahead of Piastri, Sainz, Norris and Russell. Max stays in sixth, followed by Lewis Hamilton. This time the entire field makes it through the first round unscathed.

Everyone will try to get to the end without pit stops, which means that no one will go all out and ‘saving tyres’ is the motto of this race. After twenty laps the top four are still together, but there is a ten second gap to Russell, who is followed by Verstappen. The Dutchman comments over the on-board radio: “This is so boring, I should have brought my pillow.”

On the 52nd lap, Lewis Hamilton pits and switches back to the hard tyres. Max follows suit and retains P6. The Dutchman is allowed to push and immediately sets the fastest time (1:15.815), meaning he is quickly catching up to Russell. On the 61st lap, Max is behind the Mercedes and puts the pressure on the Brit. Unfortunately it is proven once again that overtaking in the streets of Monaco is almost impossible, as Max is unable to get past Russell despite having a better pace. 

After 78 laps, the checkered flag is waved and Leclerc wins his home race in Monaco. Piastri and Sainz complete the podium, while Max crosses the line in sixth, half a second behind Russell. The final top ten of the race stays unchanged compared to qualifying. 

Results Grand Prix Monaco:

1Charles LeclercLECFerrari782:23:15.55425
2Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes78+7.152s18
3Carlos SainzSAIFerrari78+7.585s15
4Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes78+8.650s12
5George RussellRUSMercedes78+13.309s10
6Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT78+13.853s8
7Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes78+14.908s7
8Yuki TsunodaTSURB Honda RBPT77+1 lap4
9Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes77+1 lap2
10Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault77+1 lap1
11Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes76+2 laps0
12Daniel RicciardoRICRB Honda RBPT76+2 laps0
13Valtteri BottasBOTKick Sauber Ferrari76+2 laps0
14Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes76+2 laps0
15Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes76+2 laps0
16Zhou GuanyuZHOKick Sauber Ferrari76+2 laps0
0Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault0DNF0
0Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT0DNF0
0Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari0DNF0
0Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari0DNF0