Max previews Monza: 'It's very close'

Published on 09 September 2021 by Stefan Meens

After having flown to Italy on Thursday morning, Max Verstappen soon after completed his first lap of the Italian Grand Prix weekend. Together with Red Bull Racing team mate Sergio Perez, the Dutchman cycled the iconic Monza circuit for promotional purposes.

Afterwards, Max spoke at the FIA press conference to reflect on last week’s Dutch GP win and his take on the Italian Grand Prix.

Did you celebrate your home win at Zandvoort? “I actually flew home on Sunday night after the race. I had a quick drink with Frits van Eerd (Jumbo) and Prince Bernhard (organiser Dutch GP) to celebrate a successful weekend. But after two weeks away from home, it was nice to be home again.”

The next race is at Monza. Is it a difficult track for the drivers? I might look easier than it is because your are running low downforce? “Yes, but low downforce makes braking more difficult, you have less traction, also because of the bumps. The lay-out of the track looks easy, but that’s why it’s not the easiest circuit to get the most out of a lap. You also have to deal with slipstreams and getting temperature into the tyres. Everything has to work together to produce a great lap time.”

Monza is known as the ‘Temple of Speed’, a high speed track where a power unit could be the most important factor to success. Is that a challenge for Red Bull Racing? “On paper this would be the most difficult race for that. But we’ll have to wait and see. I don’t expect the same as Zandvoort but hopefully we’re close.”

Would it be a good idea to use a new power unit at Monza and to cash in the grid penalty this weekend? “My current engine is fairly fresh, so there are no plans to swap.”

You have regained the lead in the championship. Does that mean you see yourself as the favourite coming into every weekend? “No, I don’t think so. It’s very close. Sometimes they’re a bit ahead but other times we are. Monza has never been that great for us, which has something to do with the top speed. However, with the car and engine we have this year, we’re expecting to score better than previous years. I do think Mercedes will be strong.”

Contest Italian GP: win a by Max Verstappen signed 1:2 scale model 2020 helmet!