Sunday, June 23, 2024

Max Verstappen: “Nailing a quali lap here is extremely difficult but at the same time very exciting”

Max Verstappen says the decision to cancel last weekends Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was the right decision, and he says there are more important things than racing and the floods and bad weather in Italy was one of those occasions.

The Oracle Red Bull Racing driver has won three of the opening five races of the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season and heads the World Drivers’ Championship by fourteen points, but cancelling the race last weekend was correct due to the pressures the local authorities were under due to the flooding.

“I am excited to get back to racing this week,” said Verstappen. “Not racing in Imola was the right decision and I know it was not taken lightly but some things are obviously more important than racing and this was one of those occasions.”

Verstappen knows that Saturdays Qualifying session during this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix will be extremely important, with track position on Sunday key to a strong result, and the Dutchman knows he will have to do a perfect lap if he is to grab pole position.

“Looking ahead to Monaco, qualifying is so important there so we need to make sure we are as strong as we can be in that session,” he added.  “The circuit in Monaco is super tight, even more than other street circuits.

“So, nailing a quali lap here is extremely difficult but at the same time very exciting. The race is usually heavily dependent on the strategy as overtaking is almost impossible.

“And of course, I live in Monaco so it’s nice to go home every evening during the Grand Prix weekend.”

“This is the race every driver wants to win growing up” – Sergio Pérez

Team-mate Sergio Pérez arrives in Monaco as the defending race winner, and the Mexican is eager to make it two in a row in 2023.

Pérez says he fulfilled one of his dreams from his childhood by winning around the streets of Monaco last season, and he remains hungry to stand on the top step of the podium again.

“My thoughts have been with everyone who has been effected by the floods in Italy,” said Pérez. “Sometimes racing isn’t important and the safety of everyone becomes the priority.

“We’ve had a weekend off, which means I feel very well rested coming into Monaco week. This is the race every driver wants to win growing up and I was lucky enough to achieve that last season. That has only made me more hungry to stand on the top step once again.”

Pérez says the weather could be tricky this weekend with rain potentially set to hit the Monaco circuit, but whatever the conditions, he knows he will have to maximise his opportunities to get the best result possible.

“The weather could be tricky again here, which means we have to maximise every moment we get in the car,” added the Mexican.  “It’s important we get our set up right and qualifying goes well to have any chance of winning on Sunday.

“I am massively looking forward to getting back onto this track, it’s a fun drive!”

Sergio Pérez arrives in Monaco as the defending race winner – Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images