Max Verstappen may have bounced back to finish in the points during Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix, but it’s a drive he should’ve never produced if he was really worthy of staying at Red Bull Racing.
Verstappen was forced to start the race dead-last after a self-inflicted crash in FP3 left him unable to qualify.
And, as soon as the lights went out on Sunday, Verstappen began his assault on the cars in-front, selling moves worthy of a Drivers World Champion to anybody in his path.
“I still really enjoyed myself out there today as I was able to race other cars and be competitive pretty much from start to finish,” Verstappen said.
Verstappen found multiple places to ruthlessly execute his manoeuvres.
He used the inside of Turn 5 just before the Loews Hairpin to get past Ericsson.
Stroll and Leclerc fell victim to inside-line-dives at the Nouvelle Chicane; and at the same corner, the Dutchman took the long way around Carlos Sainz.
In essence, the inability to overtake at Formula 1’s narrowest circuit didn’t stop Verstappen.
The commentators were clearly impressed; Sky Sports F1’s David Croft said midway through the Grand Prix, “he’s had a very good race”.
So too was the Official Formula 1 Youtube Channel, feeling compelled to upload, “2018 Monaco Grand Prix: Max Verstappen’s Best Overtakes”.
Even Max’s Team Principal, Christian Horner, said, “It was a great recovery from Max.”
I’ll even say openly, it was a great drive!
And for efforts like this, Verstappen continues to make himself known in the headlines, whereas other drivers worthy of a coveted Red Bull seat would’ve brought home a gracious P2, behind Ricciardo’s flawless performance.
In this instance, Verstappen didn’t finish on the podium because he made a major mistake by crashing in FP3.
The crash was a simple mistake, hitting the inside barrier of the second swimming pool chicane.
“It happened so quick after getting a bit distracted and perhaps I turned in a bit too early,” Verstappen said.
Should we really take distraction as an excuse? Considering on Sunday Ricciardo drove most of the Grand Prix with a car that was missing 25% of its power output?
Also, not to mention, Ricciardo failed to get flustered when he was first diagnosing the issue with his Red Bull engineers.
Plus, it’d be rude to not mention Lewis Hamilton in the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix, when he had something stuck in his eye. The Briton told the team over the radio of the discomfort he was in, yet he managed to keep the car on the road and finish in P2.
So, no, I don’t buy distraction as a major excuse for a rookie mistake.
Verstappen’s crash is simply another incident that suggests it’s time to evaluate his position within Red Bull…
That’s also considering the FP3 crash was identical to what he did two years ago.