Weekend to forget for Red Bull and Alpine: Verstappen seeing positives while Ocon faces wrath

Verstappen finished sixth in Sunday’s processional Grand Prix. Ryan Pierse / Getty Images via Red Bull Content Pool.

Verstappen finished sixth in Sunday’s processional Grand Prix. Ryan Pierse / Getty Images via Red Bull Content Pool.

Published May 27, 2024


The Monaco Grand Prix was one of elation for Ferrari but at least other teams ended the picturesque race with a strong sense of disappointment.

Max Verstappen said he and Red Bull had experienced a "weekend to forget" after he finished sixth and Sergio Perez crashed out of Sunday’s processional Monaco Grand Prix.

Meanwhile Esteban Ocon faced the wrath of his Alpine team and both potential disciplinary action and a grid penalty in Canada after crashing into team-mate Pierre Gasly in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix.

Verstappen however said the team had found one positive by identifying the cause of their current problems after his worst result since the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix.

In particular, the three-time champion and current leader said their car struggled to cope with the bumpy nature of the track and a need to ride kerbs, which proved to be the strength of rivals Ferrari who won the race with local hero Charles Leclerc.

The result left Verstappen on top of the title race with 169 points to Leclerc on 138, while in the teams’ title race Red Bull lead with 276 to Ferrari on 152.

"It’s not going to be an easier weekend in Montreal either because of the kerbing and stuff," he said, looking forward to the Canadian Grand Prix where another Ferrari success could blow the championship open.

"Our car is not good at that. They have resurfaced the track so that might bring some unexpected stuff - you never know the grip levels.

"This has been a really tricky and challenging weekend for us here. A lot of damage as well with Checo's (Perez) car and overall just a weekend to forget, but also a lot to learn from.

"The only positive I think that comes out of this weekend is that we understand our weaknesses and that’s what we really need to work on.

"If we can solve that or make it decent, we immediately gain a lot of lap time. That’s promising, but we have to do it"

During the race, he complained he was bored - and wished he had his pillow with him in his cockpit.

"We finished where we started," he said. “We knew that 77 laps on the medium tyre was going to be extremely hard. On the restart, from lap one, it was just driving four seconds off the pace – just really, really boring."

On a grim day for Red Bull, Perez crashed on the opening lap, colliding with the two Haas cars of Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen.

Ocon faces Alpine wrath

Esteban Ocon, meanwhile, is facing potential disciplinary action after crashing into team-mate Pierre Gasly.

The French driver attempted to lunge past Gasly on the opening lap but succeeded only in colliding and elevating his car before crashing back to the ground.

His car was badly damaged and he was unable to continue, but that was only the start of the repercussions for his impetuous driving.

Team boss Bruno Famin said the incident would have consequences for Ocon, the race stewards hit him with a 10-second penalty which became a five-place grid drop for the upcoming Canadian race and, despite his subsequent apologies, Gasly was left disappointed and upset.

"I’m just so disappointed with Esteban and for the whole team," he said.

"It shouldn’t have happened. We’ve thousands of people working for us and we cannot afford this behaviour. We had clear instructions before the race - and this wasn’t respected.

"And you should never take that much risk to take both cars out with your team-mate. I am sure it will be discussed, but we can’t afford to have a similar situation in the future.”

Ocon apologised on Instagram, writing: “Today’s incident was my fault. The gap was too small in the end and I apologise to the team on this one.

"Hoping for a deserved points-finish for the team today.”

Famin said: “This kind of incident is quite sad. Esteban’s attack on Gasly was exactly what we did not want to see and we will draw the consequences.”