Red Bull Contentpool


Analysis | Multifunctional RB19 proves to be gold for Verstappen in Monaco
Red Bull can adapt the car

Analysis | Multifunctional RB19 proves to be gold for Verstappen in Monaco

26 May - 19:00 Last update: 20:45
Author profile picture

Tim Kraaij

Red Bull Racing clearly took a different path in Monaco compared to the rest of the F1 season. Whereas Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were consistently the fastest on the straight in the first races of the season, the RB19 is also proving to be very fast in the slow corners in Monaco.

The GP in Monaco

The Monaco Grand Prix is a special case every year on the Formula 1 calendar. Whereas all season, straight-line speed is of mega importance, that is not the case at all in Monaco. On the narrow street circuit, you need to be able to qualify very quickly over one lap. Top speed is helpful, but you win/lose most of your time in the corner combinations.

That Adrian Newey's RB19 is a goldmine for engineers in this respect becomes painfully clear to competitors during free practice in Monaco. Where the team has dominated on the straights all year, they can now also put together a setup that is fast on a slow street circuit like Monaco. This is particularly evident in Verstappen's fast lap.

In the final results of the second free practice session, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz are closest to Verstappen. What is striking about the data, however, is that for the first time this season, Verstappen does not have a higher top speed than the Ferrari cars. Sainz tops out at 288 kilometres per hour in his fastest lap, compared to Verstappen's 286. Leclerc, like the Dutchman, gets to 286. Since overtaking is almost impossible at Monaco, the difference in top speed is not a problem.

Where Verstappen makes the difference with the Ferraris

What matters most in Monaco is qualifying, and what stands out is where Verstappen makes the difference compared to the Ferraris. Where normally the straight is the RB19's strength, in Monaco, it is suddenly the braking zones and traction. When entering and exiting a corner, Verstappen gains a lot of ground compared to his rivals. In doing so, he demands a bit more from his tyres than usual, but that need not be a problem in Monaco. Then again, in the corners themselves and on the straight, Ferrari is faster.

The comparison with Fernando Alonso's AMR23 has also suddenly changed. The Spaniard does not reach Verstappen's top speed (285 kilometres per hour), but is fast through a number of corners. Rascasse and Tabac in particular stand out as good corners for Alonso. The Aston Martin is not fast enough over one lap to stay ahead of the Ferraris and Verstappen, but it does have some strengths.

Mercedes are still struggling a bit in the second free practice to catch on with the new updates. Hamilton loses almost five-tenths to Verstappen in his fastest run. In the twisty final sector, Hamilton can stay reasonably close, but the Brit has then already lost too much in the corners and the end of the straight in the first and second sectors. So the new updates do not yet provide enough downforce.

RB19 also dominant in race pace

After a difficult first free practice, Red Bull found a solid setup for the Monaco circuit. The top speed it normally has can seemingly be easily converted into downforce. This also allows Verstappen to speed through the streets of Monaco, although it means he has to ask more of his tyres.

Verstappen briefly drove eight timed laps on a medium tyre. The Dutchman was just about the only one who managed to drive such a long run. The Dutchman started on a 1.16.8 and closed his increasingly faster run with a 1.15.8. Hamilton, who was on track at the same time on medium tyres, drove around between 1.16.3 and 1.17.1, significantly slower than Verstappen.

Alonso drove a long run on the soft tyre but did not get below 1.17 except for one lap (1.15.8). Sainz threw away his chances of a long run with his crash, and Leclerc had taken too long to perfect his qualifying run, so the Monegasque only got to one timed lap in what was supposed to be his long run. In that lap, he clocked a 1.16.6. So little data for Ferrari on race pace.

With a completely different setup, Verstappen again proved very strong in the second free practice. Leclerc came to within a tenth of Verstappen much later in the session, but the track was a lot faster then. At the same time in the session, Sainz did not come within that tenth. Red Bull hardly loses anything on the straights, while it now also appears fast in the corners. It seems enough to stay ahead of the competition, but all the teams will be looking at the data to get even better on Saturday.

Video player

More videos