Viaplay analysts find a bright spot: ‘Verstappen was the king there’

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Viaplay analysts find a bright spot: 'Verstappen was the king there'

In the aftermath of qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix, Viaplay analysts Giedo van der Garde and Mike Hezemans responded to a disappointing session for Max Verstappen. The Dutchman made a rare mistake at the decisive moment, and that mistake was easily explained according to both analysts.

Van der Garde expected before qualifying that Verstappen would limit the damage. ‘I did not expect this. He made a mistake,” the former Formula 1 driver opens. ‘The first flying lap (from Q3, ed.) was okay. After that you know you have to give it your all. He was always super fast in the first sector, but in the second and third sectors he fell a bit short. Then he pushed even more in the first sector, and then you make a mistake and hit the wall. He wants to brake even later, and actually misses the apex.’

Red Bull Racing is having a very difficult time in Monaco. This was already expected, but the scale of the problems is worrying. ‘The philosophy of the car is that they drive with a very stiff setup. You don’t actually want that in Monaco, because you want the car to go over the curbs easily and to be good at braking,” says the man who achieved one of his absolute highlights in Monaco qualifying in 2013. ‘You then choose a softer setting. So he tried that, but it didn’t work. That car is simply very good on circuits with fast corners and flat asphalt. Then it’s a cannon of a car, but it just doesn’t work here.’

Compensating leads to mistakes

Hezemans also thinks that Verstappen was forced to make mistakes. ‘You’re just trying to overcompensate for the second sector. He was always three-tenths too slow there, which is a lot,” the former driver says. ‘In the first sector he was the king. Then you try to go even faster, to compensate for sector 2. In the third sector everyone was about the same fast.’

Verstappen himself was surprised that he made it to Q3 at all, noting that the car forced him to push the limits. ‘How long has he been faultless? It is also nice to see that he is also human,” says Hezemans. ‘He hasn’t actually made a single mistake (lately, ed.). You also see with him: if you don’t have the right car, his talent also ends somewhere.’

Without the mistake in Q3, pole position would have remained out of reach, according to Hezemans. ‘I think he could have finished second with luck, but I honestly think third. Leclerc is two tenths ahead. He would never have achieved that. So second was the maximum possible.’ The gap to Piastri’s second time was 0.143 seconds. Verstappen immediately realized afterwards that the weekend is far over. ‘He’s always so down to earth. He knows it’s going to be a parade. You have to be lucky, and that’s the end of it.’

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