'Driver of the day' Verstappen misses out on podium

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB15.
© XPB 

Max Verstappen has been making a habit of picking up the accolade of 'driver of the day' in recent Grand Prix races this season, and he did so again in Monaco with a brilliant, combative effort to overhaul race winner Lewis Hamilton.

The Red Bull ran in second place for much of the race and piled on the pressure on Hamilton in the final laps, even making contact with the Mercedes at one point heading into the Nouvelle Chicane.

But not only could Verstappen find no way past, he was also compromised by a five second penalty which ended up demoting him off the podium when it was finally applied post-race.

"Of course, it’s a shame to have a penalty, but I give everything today to get by Lewis," Verstappen said after the finish.

"I knew he was on the softer tyre and had to drive slower to preserve them. That’s why I started pushing after the pit stop.

"He was taking it very easy once we had the stop, so I started to push him, and he had to then increase his pace.

"Lewis had to speed up, which meant his tyres would suffer. I saw him struggling at certain points so I tried to attack.

"The problem is you can’t get close enough in the tunnel to really place an attack so I tried to keep the pressure on him. My front wing was pretty much glued to his floor but you just can’t overtake here.

"With a couple of laps to go, I decided to just go for it and see what would happen, and we touched a bit."

Verstappen's front right tyre made brief contact with Hamilton's left rear, causing both to miss the turn-in to the chicane. Since both drivers ended up cutting the corner, the race stewards = who looked into the incident after the race - deemed no further action was required.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W10 leadss Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB15.

Instead it was an earlier five second time penalty that Verstappen had picked up for an unsafe release in the pit lane that dropped him from second to fourth place in the classified results. He was also given two penalty points on his F1 superlicence.

The Dutch driver had been sent out of the Red Bull pit box right alongside Hamilton's team mate Valtteri Bottas. The Finn suffered a suspected puncture from the ensuing collision and was forced to make a second pit stop while the race was still neutralised behind a safety car.

Fortunately Verstappen's car was undamaged in the incident and he picked up second place as a result, which he used to bring all the pressure to bear that he could on Hamilton.

"I had a fun race and if you look at our pace, we’ve done a good job," Verstappen summarised. "It’s a shame [about the penalty], we drove well and deserved a podium. We were quick."

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