Verstappen targets podium to break his Monaco ‘curse’

Max Verstappen will start the Sunday’s Grand Prix from the second row of the grid. That puts him in within a reasonable shot of a podium. However, at the very least the young Dutchman simply wants to break his rotten run of Monaco luck to date.

“We are close to the podium, that’s true,” he said on Saturday. “But tomorrow I am going to concentrate on my race and try to finish. I want to break the ‘curse’ I have around here!”

In his previous two Formula 1 outings at the iconic circuit, Verstappen has ended up failing to last the full distance both times.

In 2015 his race ended in a collision with a Lotus which triggered the first ever Virtual Safety Car in a Grand Prix. The following year he locked up and went into the barriers midway through the race.

On the upside, this year will be the first time that the 19-year-old has started in the top six following a successful qualifying.

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“I think in Q3 my fast lap was optimal,” Verstappen stated. “I was struggling a little bit with front grip, I couldn’t get the tyres to work how I wanted. But in the end we were not too far off.

“It is always nice to be closer but I think the lap I did was pretty much on the limit,” he said.

With the two Ferraris and the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas ahead of him on the grid, the start will be crucial to how Verstappen fares in the race.

“The Ferraris have looked good all weekend and Bottas managed to sneak in between us, which was a bit of a shame,” he agreed.

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“Monaco is unique. It is hard to predict how the race will play out. There could be a safety car or stoppage at any time so we have to wait see.

“I will keep an eye on how the tyres behave and pit when we think it is the right opportunity. That is something you have to feel during the race.

“With a clean start and a good strategy we can be in the mix,” he summed up.

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Gallery: All the pictures from Saturday in Monaco

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