Red Bull «getting found out» by F1 rivals as gap closes

Verstappen struggled throughout practice over the many kerbs and bumps around Monaco’s tight street circuit.

And while the Red Bull team turned around its practice woes last week in Imola, there was little that could be done to give Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez an RB20 that could beat Ferrari or McLaren in qualifying.

Verstappen’s first flyer in Q3 was good for third, but after brushing the wall at Turn 1’s Ste Devote the Dutchman couldn’t set a second lap, ending up sixth, three tenths behind Ferrari’s polesitter Charles Leclerc.

But regardless, Verstappen said he was not in the hunt for pole with a car that couldn’t handle the bumps.

«We tried a lot of things on the car and literally nothing made it better, so then you’re just stuck,» Verstappen said when asked by Autosport to explain his suspension issues.

«In the second sector we are so bad, just because I can’t touch any kerbs because it just upsets the car way too much. You just lose a lot of lap time and it’s incredibly difficult.

«We went softer stuff for everything, but the car is like a go-kart. It’s like I’m running without suspension, so it’s jumping around a lot; not absorbing any kerb strikes or bumps or camber changes.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Erik Junius

«The last corner, I think the amount of times that I just jumped almost into the wall was really incredible.»

Verstappen says Red Bull’s Monaco issues aren’t too dissimilar to the low-speed handling problems on bumpy layouts it has had over the past two years with the ground-effect machinery, something its difficult 2023 Singapore Grand Prix weekend already foreshadowed.

But while Red Bull always had a quicker car that could mask those issues, the triple world champion believes it is now being found out on bumpy circuits because Ferrari and McLaren have all but closed the gap.

«It is not something new, we have had this problem since 2022,» Verstappen explained.

«Of course, the last few years we have had a car advantage, so it gets masked a little bit because we gain in the corners where the kerbs and bumps are not so much of a limitation.

«But with everyone catching up, naturally, when you are not improving your weakest point, you get found out and that’s what happened this weekend.»

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