Max Verstappen came home in third place at the Monaco Grand Prix, cooped up behind teammate Sergio Perez and Ferrari's Carlos Sainz as the trio locked out the podium places. The reigning World Champion had never looked capable of the race victory, having started from fourth place on the grid after a weekend in which Perez appeared to be the stronger of the two Red Bull drivers. But, while seemingly not hugely annoyed by how the race weekend had played out – given that he still extended his championship lead over Ferrari's Charles Leclerc – the Dutch driver explained there had been a major frustration for him.
Verstappen highlights red flag in qualifying
Verstappen pointed to Saturday qualifying, when a late red flag (ironically caused by Perez crashing at Portier) prevented him from putting in his second qualifying run that might have given him a better starting position. "My race was done on Saturday already, after that the red flag where I had to start fourth," Verstappen told media, including RacingNews365.com , in Azerbaijan. "And that's how it goes. In the race, you know you're the second car so you just follow the team's orders. "I think we did extremely well as a team to get the cars where they ended up. I think we also got a bit lucky [with] backmarkers holding up Ferraris and stuff like that, but that's fine. [At] Monaco, crazy things can happen. "I was just a bit more disappointed about that Q3 run where I couldn't finish my lap, but that's also Monaco. The same happened also last year in Monaco but also here in Baku with a red flag. "So on a street circuit, it's really easily done, and it's only one race weekend - we have so many more to go where normally you can overtake even if there is a bit of a disappointment in qualifying."
Brushing off the pit exit line incident
Having had a protest lodged against him by Ferrari, as the Scuderia opted to protest both Red Bulls for allegedly crossing the white line at the pit exit, Verstappen explained the moment from his perspective as both protests were rejected by the stewards in Monaco. "Well, that's the thing – I didn't cross it," he said. "I rode on it. It was close but it was also wet in the corner, so I naturally drifted that way. Normally, you don't want to put yourself in that position but, also most of the pit exit lines, you don't really need to. "I knew it was going to be close so you have to use all the margin you have."
Verstappen brushes off the weekend
With the idiosyncratic Monaco weekend now in the rear-view mirror, Verstappen said it's time to reset and refocus as F1 returns to more normal venues - starting with this weekend's high-speed street event in Baku. Having extended his championship lead to nine points over Leclerc, Verstappen said he's thrilled to even be in that position after two retirements. "We're still leading the championship," he explained. "I retired twice already, so to be even leading the championship with the margin I have at the moment I think it's very positive. "We just look ahead and a lot of good things are coming but, hopefully, it's going to be enough."