Verstappen takes the positives after pushing Hamilton to the limit in Monaco

Max Verstappen harries Lewis Hamilton at Monaco
Max Verstappen harries Lewis Hamilton at Monaco

Max Verstappen admitted he had a lot of fun during the Monaco Grand Prix, despite being stuck behind a toiling Lewis Hamilton and suffering a time penalty which saw him miss out on a podium.

The Dutchman was running third early on, where he qualified, but when the safety car emerged following Charles Leclerc’s puncture spreading bit of his Ferrari around the track, Verstappen’s race took a turn for the worse.

While he jumped Valtteri Bottas in the pits, he was penalised for an ‘unsafe release’ when he was sent back into the pitlane by his Red Bull Racing crew into the side of the Mercedes.

Verstappen, now under the rearwing of leader Hamilton, followed the Mercedes for 67 of 78 laps, unable to pass around the notoriously tight street circuit, despite the world champion’s struggle with the medium Pirelli tyres.

He made one late dive on the penultimate lap, but cluipped the rear wheel of the Mercedes, but that was as close as he came.

Unable to pass the Brit, it meant Sebastian Vettel and Bottas behind were able to stay within five seconds of the Dutchman, and though he crossed the line in second, he would finish fourth on the timesheets once his penalty was added.

Verstappen was unable to pass Hamilton

Verstappen was unable to pass Hamilton

Despite his penalty though, Verstappen was pleased with her performance in Monte Carlo, a place he has struggled at in previous years.

“I gave it my all today and I had a fun race,” he said. “I think we were very competitive and I enjoyed putting the pressure on and trying to go for the win.

“You know when you’re up against Lewis it’s going to be very hard but I kept pushing him and I tried to force him into a mistake.

“With a few laps to go, I thought I’m going to try it now and see what happens. We touched but luckily nothing came of it.

“The penalty from the pit stop is unfortunate, but I don’t think the team did anything wrong and it is impossible to see in that tight pit lane. “Of course, I would have liked to be on the podium but I enjoyed the race and you win some, you lose some.”

Pierre Gasly finished in fifth spot, and set the fastest lap after a late stop to secure an extra point.

He added: “We had a very good strategy and a really great car to race. I enjoyed driving such a fast car on a track like this.”