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Verstappen pinpoints issue that cost him ‘a lot of lap time’ in Monaco qualifying as pole run comes to an end

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MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 25: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing looks on

Max Verstappen entered qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix looking to set a new all-time record for the most successive pole positions in F1 history, having claimed eight in a row from Abu Dhabi last year to Imola last weekend.

However, his hopes of moving one clear of Ayrton Senna were ended as the Dutchman’s pre-weekend fears of a more challenging event came true thanks to the RB20 not enjoying the tight, twisty Monte Carlo venue.

READ MORE: Leclerc beats Piastri and Sainz to home pole during Monaco qualifying thriller

Indeed, following a host of ride and balance complaints in practice, Verstappen admitted post-qualifying that the issues were still present and, while his front-running rivals could attack the circuit, he was forced to stay off the kerbs.

Verstappen’s woes were compounded when, on his final lap of the session, he hit the barriers exiting the Sainte Devote corner, ending any chance he had of improving and leaving him down in sixth for the start of Sunday’s race.

2024 Monaco GP Qualifying: The moment Verstappen hit the wall to end his pole charge

Speaking after stepping out of the car, Verstappen said: “To be honest, I was positively surprised all the way until Q3 that we were actually looking like we were in the mix – it was a big surprise to me.

“But it’s just like driving on a knife’s edge. I can’t drive on the kerbs, to be honest. That’s why we are losing so much time in Sector 2… I have to drive around everything while everyone else is just ploughing over it.

READ MORE: ‘Wrong place, wrong time’ – Perez and Alonso offer their reactions to shock Q1 exits

“It’s costing a lot of lap time, the car is like a go-kart over the kerbs and the bumps, so it’s just incredibly difficult. If you turn in one centimetre too late you might bounce half a metre more to the left or the right, and that makes it just very unpredictable.

“We were very good in the medium to high-speed, where you don’t have the bumps so much, so that’s where I felt really comfortable and it was actually a lot of fun to drive, but we lost too much in all the low-speed.”

Qualifying Highlights: 2024 Monaco Grand Prix

Verstappen is braced for a similarly difficult race day in the Principality as he gets set to wrestle his car for 78 laps and put himself in a position to capitalise on any potential drama.

“It’s not going to be enjoyable,” added the 26-year-old, who has won five of the seven races held so far this season. “Every lap that I did so far, in the low-speed it’s a challenge to be consistent.

READ MORE: Leclerc thrilled by ‘very special’ run to Monaco pole as he reveals nerves from last-minute engine change

“Of course, in the race, you don’t push it to the limit, everyone is saving [the car] and just making sure you have the tyres to go with it. We’ll all calm down a little bit.

“But we don’t have the fastest car anyway, so all the cars that are ahead of us are faster. We’ll just try to follow. It’s Monaco, things can happen, but I also don’t expect miracles.”

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