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Verstappen reflects on lowly P6 finish in Monaco GP as he takes one ‘positive’ from painful weekend

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MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 26: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing talks

Max Verstappen had to settle for sixth position at the end of a challenging Monaco Grand Prix weekend for himself and Red Bull – marking the first time he has finished a race off the podium all season.

Verstappen returned to the Principality having won five of the seven Grands Prix held up to that point, but he was quick to predict a “more difficult” event on the tight, twisty streets of Monte Carlo.

READ MORE: Leclerc clinches long-awaited home win in Monaco ahead of Piastri and Sainz after early drama

That became a reality as the sessions ticked by, with the Dutchman unable to qualify higher than sixth – behind the Ferraris, McLarens and George Russell’s Mercedes – amid the RB20’s struggles over the bumps and kerbs.

Verstappen’s hopes of making progress on race day were dented when an early red flag scuppered his strategy of starting on the more durable hard tyres, rather than the more aggressive mediums.

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 26: George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Mercedes AMG

Verstappen and the RB20 struggled around the streets of Monte Carlo all weekend

That allowed the Ferraris and McLarens ahead, who had all lined up on mediums, to change to hards amid the free swaps permitted in the pit lane and then run to the chequered flag with relative ease.

After converting his starting position of sixth, between the Mercedes drivers, Verstappen said: “For most of the race we were all driving like four seconds off the pace, I think.

READ MORE: Leclerc overjoyed with breakthrough Monaco win as he says previous heartache made success ‘even better’

“The red flag basically ruined it a bit, because then everyone had a free pit stop. Some, of course, like we did, had to then switch to the medium, and we knew that was going to be really hard to the end.

“For us there was a lot of management to the end and that didn’t really make it enjoyable. The people on the hard tyres, towards the end they probably could push a bit more, but on the other hand, everyone was quite careful.

“No one really wanted to stress their tyres too much, because you know you can’t pass around here, so [it was] not really exciting. It’s a bit of a shame.”

Race Highlights: 2024 Monaco Grand Prix

Verstappen was then asked if he is confident Red Bull’s relatively poor form in Monaco will be no more than a “blip” as he and the team look to press on for another title double.

“We know that some tracks just really don’t suit our car at the moment,” he responded. “Some tracks that are still upcoming won’t really be that good for us, but then also some tracks will be better for us.

READ MORE: Perez, Magnussen and Hulkenberg share contrasting views on start pile-up in Monaco

“We know… I think the positive thing out of this weekend is that it really highlighted out weakness, and that’s what we have to work on.”

Verstappen’s P6 finish combined with Charles Leclerc’s breakthrough home victory means the former’s championship lead over the latter now stands at a much-reduced 31 points.

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