Verstappen ‘risked everything’ for Monaco pole
By Mat Coch
Sunday 28th May, 2023 - 11:55am
Max Verstappen admitted he had to “risk everything” during Qualifying to best Fernando Alonso and secure pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix.
The Dutchman recovered a two-tenths deficit at the second split on his final lap in qualifying to claim pole by more than a tenth.
It was a dramatic climax to an enthralling session in which a host of drivers showed pole potential.
Esteban Ocon will line up third (after qualifying fourth) after a strong performance while Yuki Tsunoda also had a spell at the top of the timesheets earlier in the Qualifying hour.
However, Verstappen’s effort as the chequered flag waved stole the show.
“I don’t think so, but it was good enough,” he responded when asked if it was the best qualifying lap of his career.
“I’m just happy to get my first pole here.
“It’s always super hectic. And finally, we also had just clean running in Q3 as well, so that was nice for everyone to just push to the limit.
“The whole qualifying went pretty well,” he added.
“I struggled a bit to put it in the first lap, with warm-up, with the tyres, and just putting it all together, all the sectors.
“But I knew that the last lap I had to do it because they improved.
“I also knew going into the last sector I was down on them, so I had to push flat out in the last sector, risk everything to get back the lap time. And luckily, we did.”
Verstappen proved the fastest of anyone through the final sector, taking just 18.821s to complete it.
It was the only part of the lap in which he was faster than Alonso, the Aston Martin driver quickest of everybody in both first and second sectors.
Verstappen was 0.146s slower than his Spanish rival through the first third of the lap, and 0.058s slower to the second split.
However, Alonso was only 10th fastest around La Rascasse and Antony Noghes, 0.288s slower than the championship leader.
That difference was the key, and allowed Verstappen to steal pole position away from the 2007 Monaco GP winner.
“Touched a few walls – guard rails and walls,” he said of his run through the final sector.
“I was always quite quick in the last sector but yeah, I definitely pushed a bit harder on the last lap.”