Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton cause drama at 2023 Monaco GP

Max Verstappen was almost a second off the pace during the opening session of the 2023 Monaco GP.

Championship leader Max Verstappen had a mixed opening day at the Monaco Grand Prix after appearing to struggle in Free Practice 1; however, he found some pace in Free Practice 2 to end Friday on top.

Verstappen holds a 14-point lead in the standings over team-mate Sergio Perez ahead of Sunday’s sixth round of the 2023 season, with the Dutchman targeting his first Monaco victory since 2021.

The first session of the weekend certainly wasn’t ideal for the 25-year-old, who could only claim sixth spot in FP1.

Verstappen complained throughout the bulk of the session about the setup of his RB19, with him having been unhappy with how the car felt over the kerbs and bumps of the iconic Circuit de Monaco.

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

He did almost have a coming together with 2021 rival Lewis Hamilton as well, with the Red Bull driver having followed the Briton off the circuit.

Hamilton skipped the Nouvelle Chicane due to Verstappen having been approaching from behind at considerably higher speed, in an attempt to stay out of the two-time World Champion’s way.

However, Verstappen followed Hamilton over the chicane, before managing to overtake the Mercedes driver.

It appeared to simply be a case of Hamilton having caught Verstappen’s eye, resulting in the Dutchman missing his braking point.

Article continues below

Having been 0.872s behind pacesetter Carlos Sainz in FP1, Verstappen topped FP2 by just under a tenth of a second, from Sainz’s Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc.

Verstappen looked significantly better in the second session of the weekend and looks set to be a real contender for pole position; however, the Dutch driver recognises that his side need to discover a “bit more” to remain ahead of Ferrari.

READ: Daniel Ricciardo reveals he’s in love with daughter of ex-F1 driver

“FP1 was quite tricky. I was not really happy with the ride of the car on the kerbs and the bumps,” Verstappen said, as reported by

“I think FP2 was already a lot better – the car was a lot more competitive but compared to Ferrari especially I think we’re still a bit lacking on the general ride of the car, how it handles the kerbs, the bumps, the drops in camber. 

“It’s still something we need to work on for tomorrow because we could see they are very, very close and knowing that once you go onto the limit in qualifying we need a bit more to stay ahead.”