Max Verstappen brands Red Bull RB20 a ‘kangaroo’ in startling Monaco practice

Thomas Maher
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 2024 Monaco Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen wasn't happy with his Red Bull RB20 in Monaco qualifying.

Max Verstappen was left unimpressed by the behaviour of his Red Bull RB20 during second practice in Monaco.

Verstappen’s Monaco weekend got off to a tricky start on Friday, with the championship leader finishing over half a second off the pace during the second practice session.

Max Verstappen struggles with ‘kangaroo’ Red Bull

Having finished outside the top 10 in first practice as Red Bull ignored the soft tyre, Verstappen took to the track on the hard tyre to start off the second practice session.

With Charles Leclerc setting the pace up front for Ferrari, all eyes were on what the championship leader could do when he swapped to the soft tyre to attempt some fast laps.

Having gone quickest in the first sector, Verstappen backed off on his first quick attempt before regathering himself – finishing over half a second down on Leclerc as the Monegasque set a 1:11.278 to establish himself clearly at the front of the pack.

Worse for Verstappen, he wasn’t even the closest driver to Leclerc as Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso both managed to get themselves in between Verstappen and the front.

On top of that, the Dutch driver clearly wasn’t happy with the handling of his car as he complained over team radio about the bad ride quality. Growing frustrated as the problem manifested itself, Verstappen revealed what was going on over the radio.

“I’m jumping like a kangaroo, man,” he told race engineer Gianpiero ‘GP’ Lambiase.

“I’m getting headaches! It’s crazy.”

It was an issue for both Red Bulls, with Sergio Perez also reporting issues with the handling of his car.

“**** the ride is horrendous,” the Mexican said – he finished in eighth place and over eight-tenths of a second off the pace.

“I cannot see the apex of [Turn] 3 from the front.”

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It’s not the first weekend to prove challenging for Red Bull from the offset, with the closer pack resulting in Verstappen and Red Bull having to dig deep for their recent results.

Defeated by McLaren’s Lando Norris in Miami (albeit with some fortunate Safety Car timing for Norris), Verstappen had a struggle in first practice at Imola but recovered sufficiently to take pole and win the race – by less than a second at the chequered flag.

Having won the last two Monaco Grands Prix, Verstappen admitted this weekend might not be very straightforward for Red Bull.

“Looking at the track layout, it’s probably not going to be our best track, just because our car normally struggles a bit over bumps and kerbs,” he said.

“We did work on it a bit compared to last year. I think so far, on most of the tracks that we’ve been to, our low-speed performance has improved a little bit. But I don’t think this is going to be a very easy weekend.

“But I think Monaco never is very straightforward, even when you are supposed to have the best car.

“Monaco is a very tricky track to get everything to work, get the tyres to work, in a quali lap, for example, red flags, there’s always a lot of disruption and a lot of things can go right, but also a lot of things can go wrong. So yeah, we just need to be on it.

“Of course, Imola started off really bad and we managed to turn it around. I wouldn’t want to have a weekend like that again. It’s quite stressful and not nice, but we know that this is a more difficult track for us, even though we have won here in the past. It’s quite complicated so we’ll see where we’re at tomorrow.”

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