Max Verstappen jokes ‘thinking about’ letting Fernando Alonso win Monaco GP

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen laughing in the post race press conference. Miami May 2023

Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen laughing in the post race press conference. Miami May 2023

Conceding he needs help from Max Verstappen to win the Monaco Grand Prix, the Dutchman has told Fernando Alonso he’ll “think about it” but he’d actually like to win the race himself.

Verstappen and Alonso will line up 1-2 on the Monte Carlo grid with the Red Bull driver having pipped the Spaniard to pole position by 0.084s thanks to an incredible final sector.

As Aston Martin’s joy when Alonso went fastest turned to disappointment as Verstappen completed his lap, the double World Champion says he’s still dreaming of that elusive 33rd race win – but he’ll need Verstappen’s help.

“The chances to win,” said Alonso, “I think we need the help from Max, but we cannot… I mean, take it for granted that all three cars will finish the race with no issues.

“This is Monaco and it’s going to be demanding.”

Asked whether he’s open to that, Verstappen replied: “I mean, I like to see Fernando win but I also like to see myself win.

“It’s a tough one. I’ll think about it!” recommends

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Starting P2 and with many a pundit predicting this could be Aston Martin’s best opportunity to win a race all season, it begs the question what risks if any is Alonso willing to take on Sunday.

“I think I risk enough today,” he said. “So, tomorrow, as I said, we will try to finish the race to see the chequered flag, try to take the maximum points.

“If there is a normal Monaco race, we should be on the podium, more or less securing the positions that we see here in this moment.

“And, as I said, if there is an opportunity or mechanical failure from Max or a bad pit stop or lucky strategy or whatever, we will take it. But if not, there is not [anything] coming from our side that we risk more or less and then we will have a chance to win.

“There is no way you will overtake anyone, so it’s just avoiding a mistake, which sounds a boring race on Sundays in Monaco and from the outside looks easy but it is still extremely difficult to keep the car in good shape and on those streets for 78 laps.”

He’s also not going to try a lunge at Sainte Devote as he reckons not only is the run to Turn 1 too short, but the track is also too narrow to risk that.

“The start has been very good for us this year, it’s true. And Max maybe has been a little bit inconsistent sometimes. When he’s good, it’s as good as we are and sometimes a little bit worse,” he said.

“The thing is that the distance to Turn 1 I think is too short, for whatever start performance you have, and it’s too narrow, I think, to try. Let’s see how it goes but it is maybe not in my head at the moment, that it’s that opportunity or nothing.

“I think it’s, as I said, a long race that we will focus on it.”

For Verstappen, Sunday’s race marks one of the first big opportunities for the 25-year-old to battle Alonso, both double World Champions, for a race victory.

“No, for me it’s nothing of a surprise,” he said of the Spaniard’s current form. “I grew up watching Fernando in F1 and I liked his style and for him to still be here at 41 it’s very impressive.

“I think it’s a great example for people out there, if you stay committed and believe in yourself, believe in the opportunities that come to you, then you can show something like he’s doing right now. But, of course, you need also a lot of natural raw talent with that.”