Max Verstappen invites entire F1 2024 grid to drive Red Bull RB20 ‘faster than me’

Oliver Harden
An unflattering image of Max Verstappen caught mid-speech in Monaco

Max Verstappen endured his most difficult weekend for some time in Monaco

Max Verstappen has defended his performance at the Monaco Grand Prix, claiming nobody in the paddock would have been able to drive the Red Bull RB20 “faster than me” last weekend.

Verstappen has established himself as the dominant force of modern F1, winning 49 of the last 74 races to claim three consecutive World Championships.

Max Verstappen challenges whole F1 2024 field to drive Red Bull RB20

A fourth title had looked inevitable after Verstappen started the F1 2024 season by winning four of the first five races – including three one-two finishes for Red Bull – to establish a clear lead in the Drivers’ and Constructors’ standings.

However, with McLaren and Ferrari improving quickly Red Bull have looked increasingly vulnerable over recent weeks with Verstappen winning one of the last three rounds as Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc triumphed in Miami and Monaco respectively.

Verstappen could only manage sixth on the grid in Monaco as team-mate Sergio Perez failed to reach Q3 for the second race in succession.

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Verstappen’s lead over Monaco winner Charles Lelcerc in the World Championship has been cut to 31 points, with Red Bull now just 24 ahead of Ferrari.

Speaking to media including after qualifying, Verstappen admitted Red Bull got “found out” in Monaco for not addressing a weakness of the car which had been present since the first year of F1’s ground effect rules in 2022.

The Dutchman went to liken the RB20 to a go-kart around the principality, claiming the car was “jumping around a lot” and “not absorbing any kerb strikes or bumps or camber changes.”

And Verstappen believes no other driver would have salvaged a sixth-place finish in Monaco with the car so recalcitrant.

Asked if he made his first mistakes of F1 2024 in Monaco, he replied: “I would say no. And I would be happy to invite anyone in the paddock to drive this car faster than me.”

Red Bull’s performance last weekend prompted Verstappen’s father Jos to declare that the team’s dominance of F1 is now over, with Verstappen Sr urging the Milton Keynes-based outfit to respond in the face of a renewed threat from Ferrari and McLaren.

He told Dutch publication De Telegraaf: “For sure there will be other tracks where Red Bull will do well again, but I am very curious [to see] how they will solve these problems.

“They will have to do something about it, understand where certain difficulties come from. Meanwhile, it is clear that McLaren and Ferrari are getting closer and closer.

“Max has been good at hiding some of the problems, but you can see how big the difference is between him and his team-mate.

“It seems to me that Red Bull’s period of dominance has come to an end.”

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