Max fourth in Monaco: 'It's a shame but it was a fun race'

Published on 26 May 2019 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen finished the Monaco Grand Prix in fourth position. The Dutchman, who crossed the line in P2, half a second behind winner Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes, received a five second time penalty for an unsafe release at the pit stops. It meant that the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver was demoted and classified in fourth, behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton’s Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas. Nevertheless, Max was voted Driver of the Day. He received the accolade for the second time this season.

“It’s a shame we had that penalty but I give everything today to get by Lewis. I knew he was on the softer tyre and had to drive slower to preserve them. That’s why I started pushing after the pit stop. Lewis had to speed up, which meant his tyres would suffer. I saw him struggling at certain points so I tried to attack”, explained Max after the race.

He added: “The problem is you can’t get close enough in the tunnel to really place an attack so I tried to keep the pressure on him. My front wing was pretty much glued to his floor but you just can’t overtake here. With a couple of laps to go, I decided to just go for it and see what would happen and we touched a bit.”

“It’s a shame, we drove well and deserved a podium. We were quick. But, I had a fun race and if you look at our pace, we’ve done a good job.”

As the lights go out for the Monaco Grand Prix, Max has a good start from third. For a moment it appears the Dutchman can sneak past Bottas on the inside going into turn one. Ultimately, the Mercedes edges ahead with Max opting not to risk damaging his RB15’s front wing. After the first lap, Hamilton leads ahead of Bottas and Max.

Meanwhile, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who started from sixteenth is carving his way through the field. Sadly, his progress is halted in an attempt to overtake Nico Hulkenberg at Rascasse. Leclerc spins and has punctured his right rear tyre. In an attempt to get back to the pits as fast as he can, the Ferrari driver destroys his floor. The subsequent debris that is scattered around the track prompts a safety car.

The front runners all make use of the safety car by making their only pit stop of the race. Mercedes double stack their drivers, meaning Valtteri Bottas loses a bit of time in the pits, allowing Red Bull Racing and Max to jump the Mercedes. In doing so, the Milton Keynes based outfit release Max unsafely, resulting in a five second penalty for the number 33.

After the pit stops, Hamilton leads Max, Vettel and Bottas until the chequered flag. Despite Hamilton’s tyres getting worse and worse, and Max’ constant pressure, it is the reigning world champion who holds on to first place.

Two laps before the end, Max attempts an overtake at the exit of the tunnel. The Mercedes and Red Bull touch but without any damage or further consequences, meaning Hamilton takes the win whilst Max loses a podium to Vettel and Bottas after the five second penalty is applied.

Apart from a small traffic jam after Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) sends Robert Kubica (Williams) into a spin, the race finishes without major incidents. In the end, only Charles Leclerc fails to see the chequered flag. The damage done to the floor by the delaminated tyre proofs to much to complete the race, marking a disappointing end to a disappointing weekend for the youngster from Monaco.

Results Grand Prix Monaco:

1Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes781:43:28.43725
2Sebastian VettelVETFerrari78+2.602s18
3Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes78+3.162s15
4Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda78+5.537s12
5Pierre GaslyGASRed Bull Racing Honda78+9.946s11
6Carlos SainzSAIMcLaren Renault78+53.454s8
7Daniil KvyatKVYScuderia Toro Rosso Honda78+54.574s6
8Alexander AlbonALBScuderia Toro Rosso Honda78+55.200s4
9Daniel RicciardoRICRenault78+60.894s2
10Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari78+61.034s1
11Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Renault78+66.801s0
12Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari77+1 lap0
13Sergio PerezPERRacing Point BWT Mercedes77+1 lap0
14Nico HulkenbergHULRenault77+1 lap0
15George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes77+1 lap0
16Lance StrollSTRRacing Point BWT Mercedes77+1 lap0
17Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari77+1 lap0
18Robert KubicaKUBWilliams Mercedes77+1 lap0
19Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari76+2 laps0
0Charles LeclercLECFerrari16DNF0