Monte Carlo (Principality of Monaco) (AFP)
Max Verstappen won his first Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday and suffered a thinly veiled blow to world champion Lewis Hamilton, telling title rival: “Actions speak louder than words.”
The Dutch driver Red Bull took the victory thanks to the pole position inherited from Charles Leclerc when the Ferrari driver was unable to take the start.
“First of all, I mean actions always speak louder than words. I think that’s a good lesson after this weekend, ”said Verstappen who has now taken the world championship lead in Hamilton.
The British star had said on the eve of the race that “maybe Max has a lot to prove.
“I’m not necessarily in the same boat there and I’m more for the long haul, ‘it’s a marathon not a sprint,’ which is why I finally have the stats that I have. “
Verstappen now has two wins to his name this season and leads the championship by four points for Hamilton of Mercedes.
It is the first time in his career that he has led a world championship.
“You have to speak on the track, and that’s what I like,” he said.
“As a team, we have made the fewest mistakes so far and that is why we are in the lead (one point ahead of Mercedes among the manufacturers).
“I hope we can continue like this for the rest of the season. And there is still a long way to go. “
His victory, however, was not a victory for the purists as the tight Monaco road circuit once again made overtaking impossible by transforming the highly anticipated event, which was shelved due to the pandemic. of 2020, in a flat procession.
“Obviously it always seems under control, but staying focused for so many laps is the hardest part,” said Verstappen.
“It’s easy to relax a bit and it’s easy to make a mistake, so you have to remember: stay focused, keep your thoughts on the road. “
It was a weekend to forget for Hamilton and his Mercedes team,
The seven-time champion finished in a modest seventh place and his teammate Valtteri Bottas was forced to retire.
“This weekend has certainly been poor in terms of performance, but this team has shown time and time again how we come back to fighting,” said Hamilton.
“There is no finger pointing, we win and we lose together – we just need to find our feet and stay cool, we have 18 races left and there is a long way to go in this fight. “
Bottas finds himself in fourth place in the standings, already 49 points behind Verstappen.
” I could not believe it. It’s obviously extremely disappointing and we have to learn to make sure it doesn’t happen again, ”said the Finn of his botched end-of-race pit stop.
Mercedes team leader Toto Wollf added: “We had a pretty terrible racing day. “
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