Verstappen battles back after first corner crash at Monza
For the second race in a row, Max Verstappen suffered a first corner accident, putting paid to his chances of a decent finish at the Italian Grand Prix.
Starting from the back anyway as a result of an engine penalty, Verstappen was looking to avoid the drama heading into the first of Monza's tricky chicanes, but managed to hit Sergio Perez's Racing Point, damaging the front wing of the Red Bull and forcing the Dutchman into a first lap pit-stop.
He battled back through the field to finish an eventual eighth, with Perez his nemesis again, stuck behind him for long periods after scything through the lower order with relative ease.
He said: "With what happened at Turn 1 coming through to eighth isn’t too bad and these things are always more likely to happen when you start at the back. The last two races were always going to be difficult for us and now I’m looking forward to having a more normal race weekend and starting closer to the front.
"We pitted for a new front wing and the race was still on as I had really good pace in clean air. I managed to pass quite a few cars but we got unlucky with the virtual safety car as it came out the lap after I pitted and three or four cars which I had already overtaken were back in front of me.
"I passed them all again but it was pretty painful on my tyres and then at the end I got stuck behind Perez for the second time in the race. I just couldn’t get past him as he was so quick on the straights.
"We have made some steps forward with the pace of the power unit but we will of course keep working hard to improve even further."
Further ahead, Alex Albon's second race for Red Bull saw him come home sixth, even after a five-second penalty was handed to him for cutting a chicane, having started eighth.
"There were positives for me even though the race didn’t go as planned," he said. "I didn’t have a great start and had to fight my way back though the field. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the pace on the straights to overtake so I had to do my manoeuvres on the corners. That resulted in a lot of side by side action and at one point I just lost a bit too much grip going that wide so it started to get messy.
"I had a few offs and took a five second penalty. However, my race pace is getting better with the car and I feel I have made a good step up from Spa so personally speaking I am happy.
"Hopefully Singapore will be better for me as there will be more downforce and more corners. I think there is a lot more to come and I’m feeling more competitive.”