‘I’m going to shunt’: Max Verstappen at Monaco GP

Max Verstappen is targeting his first victory in Monaco since 2021, as he looks to build his advantage in the championship.

Reigning World Champion Max Verstappen ended the opening day of the Monaco Grand Prix at the top of the timesheets; however, it was far from a simple start to the weekend for the championship leader.

Verstappen topped Free Practice 2 by just under a tenth of a second from home hero Charles Leclerc, who is targeting a third consecutive pole position on Saturday at the Circuit de Monaco.

Verstappen looked much better in the second session of the weekend than he did in the first, where he was very unhappy with the way his car was set up.

The Red Bull driver could only manage sixth in Free Practice 1 and was almost nine-tenths behind initial pacesetter Carlos Sainz, with changes having been made to the Dutchman’s RB19 following the session.

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner revealed after FP1 that the team had “tried something” with Verstappen’s car during the first session of the iconic weekend; however, adjustments were made prior to FP2.

“We tried something that Max didn’t like that much,” Horner told Sky Germany.

“We’ll change something during the break and see that we can adjust the car better for him.

“We had to change something in the tuning and are now trying to adjust the car to the track.”

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Verstappen complained throughout the bulk of FP1 about how his car was “difficult to drive”, with the 25-year-old also explaining how it was “bottoming out massively”.

“Yeah the car [in] high speed places is unbelievably difficult to drive,” Verstappen said over the team radio.

“It’s the rear bottoming out massively.”

Verstappen eventually asked to return to the pits, due to believing he’d crash if he continued to drive the car in the state it was in.

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“Ah mate, I want to box, I’m going to shunt like this with the car setup like this,” Verstappen admitted.

After ending FP1 seemingly unhappy, he at least returned to the top in the second session of the day, with his attention now switching to qualifying on Saturday.

With overtaking being virtually impossible at the tight and twisty street circuit, a front row start is essential in order to fight for victory, with the race more often than not being a procession.