#1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda

F1 News: Three-team battle shaping up for Monaco GP victory

(GMM) After a long period in Formula 1 of predictable Red Bull dominance, it is no longer so certain that Max Verstappen will simply win another race at Monaco like he did last year.

Although he won from pole at Imola a week ago, the race weekend overall showed that both McLaren and Ferrari are now nipping at the triple world champion’s heels.

“Perhaps Max sometimes is a bit faster,” said Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur. “But we have a pack with six or seven cars in one tenth.

“That means that for details you can move from hero to zero.”

Indeed, with McLaren’s ‘B’ 2024 car now up and running since Miami, Lando Norris – who won at Miami – was less than a single second behind Verstappen at the checkered flag at Imola.

“McLaren are managing to get the tires with the medium-hard and hard compounds into the optimal working window now,” said Red Bull consultant Dr Helmut Marko.

“They have come closer to us with their technical improvements, and they have recently put together the better package in terms of race setup,” he told Speed Week.

Marko thinks it could be Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc posing the strongest challenge this weekend in Monaco.

“It will certainly be tighter than last year,” he said. “Leclerc is a force in qualifying in Monaco, and everyone knows that the grand prix is largely decided by qualifying.”

2023 Monaco winner #1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda during the Monaco GP, 25-28 May 2023 at Monaco, Formula 1 World championship 2023.

When considering that Ferrari might be ahead of both Red Bull and McLaren on the tight Monaco streets, Dutch GP boss Jan Lammers told NOS: “I agree.

“I think the Ferraris will grab the curbs better there than the McLarens and the Red Bulls,” he added.

“I think it could be a Leclerc weekend, but then again it could also be (Carlos) Sainz. “Or just Verstappen again,” Lammers laughed.

Marko agrees, this time telling De Telegraaf newspaper: “I think this will be the most difficult race for us, also because of the bumps and curbs.

“We will definitely have to deal with McLaren and I also expect a lot from Ferrari and above all from Leclerc.”

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