Max Verstappen has revealed that his pole lap for the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix earlier this year left him “shaking”, as he pushed himself and the RB19 to the absolute limit.
As well documented, securing pole position at the Circuit de Monaco is absolutely crucial, given that it’s almost impossible nowadays to pull off an overtake.
It means that qualifying at Monaco is traditionally the most exciting of the season, as the drivers have no choice but to go as close to the walls as possible, to carry as much speed through the corners.
Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin looked very strong in Monaco back in May, with some having predicted that it’d be his best chance of claiming a first race win since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix.
Alonso’s pace in qualifying showed that he meant business and was giving his all for pole.
The two-time World Champion actually shot to the top of the timesheets in the closing seconds of Q3, with a time which many suspected would be good enough for pole.
It was almost accepted by everyone that the Spaniard would be on pole after Verstappen was three-tenths of a second down through the second sector, leaving him with what seemed like an impossible mountain to climb.
However, in unbelievable fashion, Verstappen went ridiculously fast in the final sector to pip Alonso to pole by just 0.084s, to the complete disbelief of everyone.
Verstappen quite literally pulled off the impossible in the final sector, something which proved to be absolutely crucial as he went on to win the race ahead of Alonso.
He now admits that his pole lap in Monaco left him “shaking” even when he pulled into parc ferme, as his heart rate reached “its maximum”.
“Of course, I realised when I was taking the curve before the start of the third sector that I had been faster than I had driven previously,” Verstappen has told Marca. “But I knew it wouldn’t be enough. I also had that feeling.
“So, I thought: ‘I’m going to go completely to the limit and see how it ends’. I could have made pole or I could have crashed into the wall. And, yes, I touched some walls, I ‘kissed’ them a little. But, of course, it was a beautiful area.
“I noticed when I parked the car and took off my helmet, I was still shaking a little. There you know that your heart rate is at its maximum and that pushes you to get the best you have.”