Red Bull Racing‘s Max Verstappen says he’s happy with the overall pace around the Circuit de Monaco, but believes that Mercedes AMG Motorsport are too strong and won’t be able to fight them for pole position.
The Dutch driver avoided trouble around the Principality of Monaco and produced strong lap times in Free Practice 1, going second fastest overall. Verstappen was just short of Lewis Hamilton‘s best time in the session by 0.059 seconds. During the session, Verstappen went off at Mirabeau but was able be pushed back onto the track by the Monaco marshals.
Free Practice 2 proved to be challenging time for Red Bull and Verstappen as they missed crucial running when they had a water leak after debris struck one of the radiators.
The team managed to repair the damage and head back on track, but lost a lot of mileage as Verstappen only completed 17 laps in the second session, compared to the 39 from team-mate Pierre Gasly. The twenty-one year old placed the sixth best time.
Verstappen looks to be a strong contender to fight with the Mercedes’ drivers based on his pace in the opening session of the weekend, but the Dutch driver feels the Silver Arrows are too strong and thinks the fight for pole position isn’t possible.
“Today was ok and I’m pretty happy with the balance of the car,” said Verstappen
“In Free Practice 2 when everyone went onto a second set of tyres we had a water leak after some debris flew into the air box and damaged one of the radiators.
“We had to fix it which lost us some time on track but in general, we look alright and the pace was pretty good. I got enough laps in to feel confident with the car, we tried lots of set-up changes in both sessions and I’m happy with what we have.
“Mercedes is still very strong and I don’t think we can fight them for pole, but there is a big gap between second and third which we should be able to fill in qualifying tomorrow.”