Verstappen: Monaco a turning point

While Daniel Ricciardo‘s season has somewhat fallen apart since his win in Monaco – even more so since he announced his move to Renault – the race in the Principality was the turning point for teammate Max Verstappen‘s season.

Up to and including Monaco, the youngster had scored just 35 points, failing to finish in Bahrain and crashing into Ricciardo in Azerbaijan.

Successive podiums in the three races that followed Monaco – including a win in Austria – and three further podium finishes since the summer break, have seen him move up to fifth in the standings, just 23 points adrift of Kimi Raikkonen.

“The start of the season was not really what I expected,” he admits in an interview for his own site. “Fortunately, things improved after Monaco.

“2017 was a very different season, also with regard to the car,” he adds. “This year the car was good from the get go and that was not the case last year. In 2017 we ended-up winning twice. This year so far only once, that should have been three. I did, however, recover well and I am happy with the car, which is also important.”

Asked how he would score his, and his car’s, performances this season, he replies: “I do not like to give a certain score. I think you can always do better and I think that is very important.

“The car is actually very good,” he adds, “although there is always room for improvement. So, that’s how I feel about that.”

Asked about the revival post-Monaco, he admits: “I just did not expect to start (the season) like that. That’s the thing.

“I always expected that we would come back and just do what we had done the year before. That is being consistent, being fast and taking podiums. That has been the case after Monaco. And above all, do not listen to what other people say.

“The best experience so far was Austria,” he admits. “To win in a Red Bull car at the Red Bull Ring, with so many Dutch fans, makes it very special.”

Asked what he would you have done differently this year if he were allowed to do it again,” he responds: “China and Monaco… those two.”

China was one of several races in which there were incidents, the Red Bull driver losing position after going off while battling Lewis Hamilton and subsequently clashing with Sebastian Vettel. In Monaco he started from the back of the grid following a crash in final practice.