Verstappen claims dramatic Monaco pole for Oracle Red Bull Racing as Perez struggles
Oracle Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen rolled the dice to snatch a dramatic pole position for Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix thanks to a last gasp push in qualifying to oust Fernando Alonso and claim position one.
Speaking after the thrilling session on Saturday afternoon, the Dutch driver was delighted with the outcome and was hopeful of race success come Sunday evening.
“We knew it was going to be a bit of a struggle this weekend, but everything came together in the end. Yesterday wasn’t the best start but I think we kept on improving and getting better.”
Verstappen added: “My final lap today wasn’t ideal, I gave it everything I had and risked it all in the third sector, as I knew I was behind. I clipped a few barriers but I’m happy to be on pole here for the first time. Tomorrow we need a clean start, it’s a short run to turn one and in Monaco a lot of things can happen. Race pace wise the car is quick so hopefully we can have a positive day.”
Looking back on the qualifying session, a deeply disappointed Sergio Perez struggled to come to terms with the incident that landed him in position 20 for tomorrow’s race.
“I am really disappointed with myself today,” he lamented. “It was going well; I was happy with the balance and in Q1 naturally you are progressing and finding new limits. Going into the corner I just lost the rear end quite late, which caught me out and I had nowhere to go, I could not cut the corner or get out of the corner. Unfortunately, that meant I ended up touching the wall and I cannot believe what I have done. This mistake is too difficult to digest right now, I don’t know what to say, I am just sorry for my Team, they don’t deserve this.”
The Mexican driver added: “We will assess the car and see how the damage is, then we can make some decisions ahead of the race. We would have been in the mix for sure today, so it is doubly disappointing, it was a big opportunity for us. It’s a big hit in the Championship for me and I have probably lost a lot of points. If it’s a normal race it will be hard to do anything tomorrow, I have a fast car but it’s nearly impossible to pass here with these wide cars, it is going to be tricky to make progress, but we will try everything.”
Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner praised the determination of Verstappen to push it all the way to the very end to claim a brilliant pole position.
“That was one of the most exciting laps Max has ever driven in quali, what a performance,” enthused Horner. “On the last lap, when he arrived at the Swimming Pool he was 0.2 of a second behind Fernando and then in that last sector he hit the wall twice but his momentum carried him through, he was gaining time and then he did it, he took pole. An unreal drive.”
Commenting on Sergio Perez’s disappointing qualifying outcome, Horner stated: “Sadly for Checo, he didn’t get the opportunity to show what he can do around here. A mistake too early in Q1 put an end to his qualifying campaign. It was a shame but we are looking forward to what tomorrow brings. Both drivers will be hungry to make the most of their respective positions on the grid, it will be a very exciting race.”