'We're not at the limit yet', promises Verstappen

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing. 24.05.2018.
© XPB 

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen says that he's still a long way off finding the limit of the RB14 on the streets of Monaco this week.

That's despite a dominant display from Verstappen and his team mate Daniel Ricciardo on Thursday. The pair were fastest in both morning and afternoon practice.

They were two tenths faster than Lewis Hamilton before lunch, and doubled that margin over Sebastian Vettel later in the day. And Verstappen promised that we've seen nothing yet.

“Today went well from the start and it was a positive start,” Verstappen told his official fan site Verstappen.nl. "We haven’t been on the limit yet, but we were still fast.

"There is still margin to improve," he added. "I’ve got the right feeling in the car.

"Our car has a lot of grip and is easy to drive," he continued. "That’s really important on a street circuit like Monaco. I’m happy with that.

"We didn’t have any set-up issues," he pointed out. "Thursday was a good day. Hopefully we can maintain this on Saturday.

"We still have to improve but throughout the entire lap we seem competitive," he admitted. "I didn’t quite manage to link all the sectors together but it’s only Thursday.

"The hypersofts seem to have a lot of grip and they appear to suit the car so this is encouraging for qualifying.

"Again, the other teams’ engine modes will make a difference on Saturday but I think we can be a real challenger regardless and put ourselves in the best position to achieve a victory on race day."

The only slight blot on the 20-year-old's copy book for the day was when he ran off at Ste Devote in FP1. He was forced to reverse back onto the track, and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen had to cut the corner to avoid running into him.

That earned Verstappen an invitation to visit the race stewards during the midday break. However in the end they were happy with his explanation.

"The stewards reviewed video evidence and heard from the driver," said the official report from the FIA.

"[They] found that yellow flags (first a single yellow and later a double yellow) had been waived to warn the other drivers that his car had gone off the track at Turn 1.

"[Verstappen] had to reverse on to the track to rejoin but did so under yellow flags and in a manner that posed no danger to the other drivers."

As a result, no further action was deemed appropriate for the incident.

Verstapen and the rest of the Formula 1 drivers now have a day off on Friday, before returning to the fray on Saturday morning for final practice ahead of qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix.

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