Max Verstappen believes he can challenge for a podium at next weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, provided he keeps his Red Bull RB12 on track in the narrow streets of the Principality.
The Dutchman was one of the star performers in Monte Carlo last year and looked set for a strong points finish until he clipped the rear of Romain Grosjean’s Lotus on the approach of Sainte Dévote and crashed out of the race.
“I always enjoy racing street circuits like Monaco because you are really pushing the limit and are very close to the walls, it gives you a great feeling that you are on top of your car and getting the most out of it,” said Verstappen, who became F1’s youngest-ever race winner last weekend in Spain.
“It’s so difficult to overtake in Monaco, last year I tried and we ended up in the wall, so the most important thing is to have a good qualifying and start and from there on keep it on the track!
“The target first of all is just to stay out of the walls, and if you stay out of the walls we can be close or hopefully on the podium.”
From Casino to Mirabeau, from the Grand Hotel Hairpin to Portier, Monaco features plenty of recognisable landmarks. Verstappen, who now resides in the Principality, says he has a particular soft spot for one of the most hair-raising sequence of corners on the circuit.
“My favourite part of the track is around the swimming pool section because it’s very fast, to go flat out through the first chicane on a street circuit is nice to do. Also riding the curbs in [Turn] 15 and 16 feels great.
“Monaco is also special because the track is walking distance from where I live so that’s nice to feel like I’m home during the race weekend.”