‘You just follow the team’s orders’: Max Verstappen defends Red Bull after father’s criticism

Max Verstappen finished third in Monaco as Sergio Perez won the race after an unfortunate end to qualifying for the reigning champion.

Max Verstappen has affirmed that there was not a lot more Red Bull could have done to get a better result in Monaco last time out, despite his father’s complaints.

Red Bull played out a brilliant strategy over Ferrari in Monte Carlo to get Sergio Perez into the lead of the race ahead of Carlos Sainz, while Verstappen got ahead of Charles Leclerc, who was sent from pole to fourth after a catalogue of errors from the Scuderia.

Jos commented after the race that the Milton Keynes-based team might have done more to at least help his son climb up to second, but the reigning champion asserts that it was always going to be difficult after Perez’s crash at the end of qualifying cost him a run that looked as though it would be good enough for second on the grid.

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“My race was done on Saturday already after that red flag where I had to start fourth, and that is how it goes then in the race,” he said.

“You are the second car, so you just follow the team’s orders. We did extremely well as a team to get the cars where they ended up.

“We also all got a bit lucky with backmarkers holding up the Ferraris and stuff like that, but that is fine.”

Verstappen’s misfortune in Monaco followed on from similar bad luck in 2021 when Leclerc hit the wall at the swimming pool section, causing a red flag that secured him pole.

Last year in Baku, where the drivers go racing this weekend, the 24-year-old was again denied a final fun when Sainz and Yuki Tsunoda went off at Turn Three.

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While it is frustrating at the time, Verstappen accepts that this is just how it goes on street circuits.

“On a street circuit that is really easily done, and it is only one race weekend,” said the Dutchman.

“We have so many more to go where normally you can overtake even if, let’s say, there is a bit of a disappointment in qualifying.”

Ferrari asked for “clarification” in Monaco over Red Bull’s pit exits, during which they appeared to tag the pit exit line.

The International Sporting Code [ISC] dictates that the drivers are not to “cross” the line, leading to confusion as to whether touching the line counted as crossing it.

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The FIA dismissed the Scuderia’s protests, and have since clarified that the drivers are allowed to hit the line as long as they do not put a full tyre on the wrong side of it.

Verstappen confirms that he made contact with the line, but did not go all the way over it.

“That’s the thing, I didn’t cross it, I rode on it,” he stated.

“But it was also wet in the corner, so I naturally drifted that way. I think, normally, you don’t want to put yourself in that position but also, on most of the pit exit lines you don’t really need to.

“I knew that it was going to be close, but you have to, of course, use all of the margins that you have.”

The 24-time race winner finished third in both of the opening two practice sessions in Baku as Perez and Leclerc set the pace on Friday.