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Verstappen has to stamp out errors, demands Red Bull boss Horner

Verstappen’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo qualified on pole in Monaco.

Verstappen has to stamp out errors, demands Red Bull boss Horner

Christian Horner has increased the pressure on Max Verstappen by calling on him to stop making mistakes following his Monaco crash.

Verstappen will start Sunday’s race on motor racing’s most famous streets from the back of the field after he lost control of his Red Bull in practice, and failed to take part in qualifying because of the resulting damage to his car.

The 20-year-old Dutchman should have been in contention for the victory, but that will instead be left to his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo after the Australian scored his first pole in two years.

Ricciardo delivered a crushing performance to qualify more than two tenths of a second clear of Sebastian Vettel, with Lewis Hamilton third. Hamilton, who holds a 17-point lead over Vettel, will be quietly content with splitting the Ferrari drivers – Kimi Raikkonen lines up in fourth – given that the principality is among Mercedes’ bogey tracks.

Verstappen’s speed and gung-ho style have seen him earmarked as a future world champion, but his accident at the high-speed swimming pool section was his fifth major error in six rounds this year, and his fifth crash in four appearances in Monte Carlo.

“Max needs to learn from it and stop making these errors,” Red Bull team principal Horner said. “He is in a car that is capable of winning this grand prix and that will hurt him even more because you don’t get that many opportunities to win a Monaco Grand Prix.”

Verstappen’s mechanics worked furiously to repair the damage on his Red Bull, but they failed to turn his car around in the two-hour gap between practice and qualifying.

Verstappen sheepishly attempted to console his crestfallen crew before watching his team-mate post the fastest lap ever recorded in 76 visits to Monaco.

“I would imagine that was a pretty painful qualifying for him watching what could have been,” Horner added. “We’ve got a great car and a phenomenally fast driver and would have been able to compete for the pole today. For the whole team to be running one-legged with such a strong car is frustrating.”

Verstappen’s mistake, however, aided Hamilton’s cause.

Last year, he qualified a lowly 14th before crossing the line in seventh, but after posting the third fastest time on Saturday, the Englishman believes he is still in contention for his third win in as many rounds.

“I won my first grand prix here from third,” Hamilton said. “There’s going to be lots going on throughout the race. I really can’t tell you what Monaco is going to bring tomorrow, but I am going to give it everything and keep my head down.

“My goal is to switch places with Daniel, so that’s what I am going for.”

For Ricciardo, he has not put a foot wrong, topping every practice and qualifying session – the first driver to do so this season – with his Red Bull car ideally suited to the slow-speed Monte Carlo streets.

His performance here will also have done little to harm his contract dealings at Red Bull, while both Mercedes and Ferrari continue to keep a watching brief.

“We sent a statement in practice on Thursday and we have been quickest in every session,” Ricciardo said.  “There is still a lot of fire in this belly.

“I’ve done everything I can so far, so let’s finish the job tomorrow. I’m pumped.”

F1

Lewis Hamilton faces engine wait ahead of French Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton faces engine wait ahead of French Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton faces engine wait ahead of French Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton faces engine wait ahead of French Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton faces engine wait ahead of French Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton faces engine wait ahead of French Gra...

Mercedes are yet to announce whether the new power unit will be ready for Hamilton.

Mercedes are yet to announce whether the new power unit will be ready for Hamilton.

Mercedes are yet to announce whether the new power unit will be ready for Hamilton.

Mercedes are yet to announce whether the new power unit will be ready for Hamilton.

Mercedes are yet to announce whether the new power unit will be ready for Hamilton.

Mercedes are yet to announce whether the new power unit will be ready for Hamilton.