Max Verstappen reckons Red Bull Racing won’t be as strong as they have been in the past in F1 Monaco GP this weekend.
Monaco has been a happy hunting ground for Red Bull in the past few seasons, where the team has scored five wins and 10 podium finishes since the 2010 F1 season – which includes the victory miss in 2016 for Daniel Ricciardo.
Last year, it was dominant all-through with the Australian finally managing to take the much deserved win despite few hiccups along the way. But for 2019, Verstappen feels that Red Bull will not be as strong it was in 2018 or the past.
The Dutchman reckons the team hasn’t eked out as much performance in the low-speed corners in 2019 so far. Personally as well, Verstappen hasn’t had a good time in Monaco, with crashes in the last two race weekends on the dangerous streets of Monte Carlo.
“The race pace in Baku I think was pretty strong, but of course people came to Barcelona with upgrades and clearly we lost out a bit to Mercedes, [while] it seems that we did catch up to Ferrari,” said Verstappen to the media.
“For Monaco, I think at the moment, looking at the low-speed performance in the last sector, we are clearly not the favourite and I also don’t expect it to be like last year when we were super strong in Monaco.
“At the moment, we’re not really better in any corner than Mercedes. It’s not that it’s a bad car – but at the moment Mercedes is just a bit quicker than us everywhere. Medium speed, high speed is pretty similar I would say.
“But again, that depends on downforce levels you’re running every single weekend, so it’s a bit difficult to say, but clearly in Barcelona, they were very strong in the low-speed corners and that it normally is pretty good for Monaco as well.”
It will be interesting to see how Red Bull tackles the streets of Monaco with Verstappen and Pierre Gasly this weekend. On the other hand, the Dutchman feels that they have bridged the gap to Ferrari which is a happy moment but Mercedes looks like a step above still.
“I’m happy with what we’ve achieved. We scored the most points we could,” he said to his website during Zandvoort event. “We’re third, ahead of Ferrari, normally we wouldn’t be in that position. If you look at the races thus far, we are the third team.
“But hopefully we can make some steps to become the second fastest team. You’re as good as your last race. Things can change quickly. Until now, I’m happy but F1 remains complex. You can’t always fight for the win.
“But in the end we finished behind the two Mercedes in Barcelona and we’re third in the championship. So I don’t think I have many reasons to complain.” At the moment, Verstappen sits third with 66 points while Sebastian Vettel is fourth with 64.