Max Verstappen has ticked off another item on the bucket list by clinching his first F1 career pole in Monaco, the jewel in the crown of the championship as far as drivers are concerned.
"Of course, very happy to be on pole here for the first time," he said after the end of qualifying on Saturday on the iconic streets of the principality.
Although he made it look easy in the end, Verstappen had struggled to find his form in first practice on Friday, and while he went on to top FP2 and FP3 he was slightly slow getting started when the lights went green for qualifying.
But pretty soon he was dominating the first two rounds, and went into Q3 favourite to claim pole position for Sunday's race - only to be pushed right to the limit in a thrilling showdown with Fernando Alonso.
In the end, Verstappen's lap of 1:11.365s was just enough to secure him the prize he had been dreaming off, albeit by just 0.084s from the Aston Martin driver. "A lot of things come into play to have a perfect lap here," he said.
“It’s always super hectic," he told reporters in parc ferme. "We had clean running in Q3 so that was nice for everyone to just push to the limit. The whole qualifying I think went pretty well.
"We knew that this was going be a bit of a struggle for us to get everything together," he acknowledged. "Yesterday was not the best start, but we kept on improving and kept on being better.
"My first sector was not ideal on my final lap. I think turn 1 was a bit cautious," he recalled. "Maybe that’s why my sector one was a little bit down.
"Then it all started to come up, because it’s all about confidence around here," he continued. “When you don’t feel like the tyres are fully ready, you don’t hit the brakes as hard into turn 1 and everything is a little bit compromised.
"I knew that the last lap I had to do it because [the others had] improved. I also knew going into the last sector I was down on them so I had to push flat-out in the last sector, risk everything to get back the lap time.
"I knew I was behind, so the last sector I gave it everything I had [and] clipped a few barriers," he said. "In qualifying you need to go all out and risk it all ... and luckily we did well."
As well as a few barriers, Verstappen admitted that he had also “touched a few guardrails and walls”," adding: “I was always quite quick in the last sector but I definitely pushed a bit harder in the last lap."
He said leaving his final run as late as possible had been a deliberate ploy. “It was just how I thought we would have the best chance of putting it on pole," he explained. “Every car reacts a little bit differently with how the tyres warm up over a lap and for us that was the right choice to do it like that."
It should be another thrilling ride on Sunday when the lights go out at the start of the race, and Verstappen and Alonso go wheel-to-wheel into the first corner at Ste Devote.
"We need a clean start, it's a short run to turn 1," he agreed. "In Monaco a lot of things can happen, right? Safety car, rain, you name it. There's always a bit of chaos involved.
"Race pace-wise the car is quick, that is not the problem," he insisted. "But we just need to keep it clean and calm."
Red Bull will want to make sure there was no damage on Verstappen's car from clipping some of those barriers today. "We're going to have to check every corner, every wheel rim that he's used today," team boss Christian Horner told Sky Sports F1.
"He was pretty excited when he crossed the line about how hard he touched the barrier, so we were lucky that we weren't sweeping it up after that last corner!" he said. "Hell of a lap from him, and well deserved [pole]."
Unfortunately the news wasn't as good on the other side of the Red Bull garage. While Verstappen will start from pole, his team mate Sergio Perez will have to line up on the back row after crashing out early in Q1.