Max Verstappen slams Red Bull ‘go kart’ after painful Monaco GP qualifying

The Red Bull driver will start from sixth on the grid after enduring a difficult qualifying session in Monaco

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Max Verstappen has revealed the extent of his issues with his Red Bull car left him feeling he was driving a “go kart” during qualifying for the Formula 1 2024 Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday.

Verstappen will start from sixth on the grid at his adopted home race, while Sergio Perez is down in 18th after a wretched qualifying for the Austrian team. It was something Red Bull boss Christian Horner had anticipated after admitting the team couldn’t design a car for one track.

But that only angered Verstappen as he documented the mounting issues with the RB20, complaining about their lack of grip and suspension on the car – and compared it to the same go karts he used to race in.

“We tried a lot of things on the car, Literally nothing made it better. So then you’re just stuck, there’s not much you can do. We really tried to optimise it,” Verstappen told the written media in Monaco, including Total-Motorsport.com.

Max Verstappen during practice ahead of 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Max Verstappen will start sixth in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

“But when you’re stuck with that, you can see it in the second sector, we are so bad just because I can’t touch any curves because it just upsets the car way too much. I just lose a lot of lap time. [It’s] incredibly difficult.”

“The car is like a go kart. It’s like I’m running without suspension, so it’s just jumping around a lot. Not absorbing any curb strikes or bumps or camber changes. The last corner… the amount of times that I just jumped almost into the wall was really incredible.

“It’s also not something new, we have had this problem since 2022. For the last few years, I think we had a car advantage and then it gets masked a little bit because we gain in the corners where the curves and the bumps are not that much of a limitation. But with everyone catching up, naturally, when you’re not improving your weakest point, you can find out [and] that’s what happened this weekend.”

Red Bull under pressure from rivals

With pressure coming from Ferrari, who celebrated with two drivers in the top three after Charles Leclerc took pole and Carlos Sainz took P3, there is an increased pressure on Red Bull to perform.

But Verstappen believes that sixth was actually a decent result for himself, as the Dutchman explained how Perez’s struggles proved their low grid positions were not down to driver errors.

“You know you can always do better. But I’m not disappointed with my laps or trying to even improve more, because just look at where we are. We have P18 and P6,” Verstappen added.

“Normally, Checo [Perez] is always very good around the street circuit. He really comes alive there. I think that already says enough that he is in that position, so I cannot be disappointed with P6.”

Asked if Red Bull were beginning to look over their shoulder in the race for the drivers’ and constructors’ championship titles, Verstappen replied: “One bad race won’t define the championship. But I know that you know, to win a title, you need to be consistent and that’s what we have to try and be.”

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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