Max Verstappen responds to suggestion of ‘delight’ over Sergio Perez’s Monaco woes

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen explains during a press conference. Spain May 2023

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen explains during a press conference. Spain May 2023

Max Verstappen has refuted suggestions he’s crowing after Sergio Perez’s nightmare weekend in Monaco gifted him the perfect opportunity to put space between the team-mates in the standings.

Arriving in Monte Carlo separated by 14 points in Verstappen’s favour, the Red Bull team-mates left the track on the Sunday evening with the reigning World Champion having extended that to 39 points.

He was gifted an easy run, at least from his team-mate, when Perez crashed in qualifying and had to line up at the very back of the grid.

That was in sharp contrast to Verstappen’s pole position with the Dutchman going on to put in a near flawless race on the Sunday, barring one moment with the Turn 16 barrier, while Perez seemed to hit just about everything from the barriers to his rivals. While Verstappen won the Grand Prix, his fourth of the season, Perez was a lowly P15.

The Dutchman has denied taking any pleasure from his team-mate’s woeful weekend.

“No,” he insisted in Thursday’s driver press conference for the Spanish Grand Prix weekend. “I think mainly just the team, of course, they want to score more points but that’s Monaco, you know, it can bite you. I’ve been in that position myself.

“But from my point of view, it doesn’t really change anything. I know that it’s a very long championship. You need to be very consistent. You can barely afford mistakes, especially when it’s only one team, one opponent because at the moment looks like best case you win, worst case you’re second, so you can’t really lose too many points like that.

“But yeah, from my side, just keep grinding every single weekend. I mean, it’s pretty similar, it doesn’t really change anything for me. It’s not like I came out of Monaco, relieved or whatever.”

And he added: “I’m planning to gain seven points every single weekend, so… ”

Beat Vettel’s record for Red Bull wins

The Monaco win was the 25-year-old’s 39th for Red Bull which meant he surpassed Sebastian Vettel’s record of 38 wins for the Milton Keynes team.

Verstappen says he takes no joy from that – after all, he’s not done.

“To have won the races I’ve won and, yeah, being on number 39… It’s amazing, but it’s also a bit like, well, we want to win more,” he said.

“So, it’s not like we had a massive celebration, you know, we are in a very busy season and we want to win both championships again as a team. So we just keep on working.

“And honestly, I also really don’t need that recognition. They know that I always give my 100 percent. And I know that it’s also from their side, and I just really enjoy being part of the team and we just keep on working.”

Asked whether Vettel had messaged him, he replied: “No. I know Seb loves his statistics and numbers but again it’s… he still has four titles compared to mine. I’m on two. So I think he’s alright.” recommends

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‘Very unlikely’ Red Bull win all 22 races

Verstappen’s Monaco victory extended Red Bull’s run for this season to six from six, the Milton Keynes squad dominating both championships.

But while some fans and pundits have complained it’s all become too predictable, wary of a season in which Red Bull could win all 22 grands prix, Verstappen reckons that’s not going to happen as too much can go wrong on any given weekend.

“Well, how it looks like at the moment, I think we can, but that’s very unlikely to happen. You know, there are always things that go wrong, or you have, you know, a retirement or whatever,” he said.

“But, like purely on pace, I think at the moment, it looks like that. But we will always get to tracks maybe where it doesn’t work out exactly, or whatever, bad luck in Qualifying, you make your own mistakes.”

As for those saying Red Bull have become too dominant, he replied: “I mean, we’ve always seen this in Formula 1, it’s nothing new. So I think the longer you leave the regulations the same, the closer people will get. So maybe this is something we need to look at.

“But I don’t remember really… I mean, you know, you have the odd year, or maybe two years where there are two teams fighting, maybe potentially a third team, but overall, when you look back at the ‘80s, the ‘90s, the 2000s, and the early 2010s, you know, all the way to 2020, you know, it’s been pure dominance of certain teams.”