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Max Verstappen in Monaco Grand Prix turmoil as Red Bull ace ‘not even thinking’ about pole

Max Verstappen has admitted that he is ‘not even thinking’ about the fight for pole position after a dreadful opening day at the Monaco Grand Prix. The Dutchman struggled to hold a candle to the pace of Charles Leclerc on Friday with the Monegasque driver firmly the favourite to secure the top spot in qualifying.

While Leclerc followed up an impressive FP1 display on medium compound tyres by topping FP2, Verstappen was unable to get into a rhythm. The reigning world champion finished the first practice session of the weekend in P11 and while he was the fourth fastest in the second outing, he was still over half a second slower than his Ferrari rival.

Red Bull’s primary issue was a general lack of speed, but the RB20 struggled in particular over the bumps and kerbs of the Monte Carlo streets. The 26-year-old even complained that he was “getting headaches” during FP2 due to the excessive bouncing he was subjected to in the cockpit.

“I don’t think I can even describe what is going on, it’s very difficult,” Verstappen said after FP2 on Friday. “It’s something I didn’t expect, but it’s definitely at the higher end of the worst possible outcome of the weekend so far and it’s very difficult.

“There are a lot of bumps and curbs and camber changes as well on the track, and for us, it is basically impossible to take. Every time we go over it, we lose a lot of lap time because the car doesn’t ride it well and that is definitely hampering us to go faster. I think there is no real clear direction or solution for the weekend to try to solve something like that.

“These kinds of things, you cannot solve with set-up because that’s how the car is made and designed, you cannot change overnight. We are stuck with that, we’ll try to make it a bit better, but I’m not expecting any miracles.”

The two-time Monaco GP race winner is on the verge of creating qualifying history this weekend. If he does overcome the early adversity and secure pole position, it will be his ninth in a row, moving him clear of Ayrton Senna at the top of the record books.


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