Sunday 22 September 2019

Verstappen ready to gamble


Red Bull driver Max Verstappen. Image: AP Photo/Luca Bruno
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen. Image: AP Photo/Luca Bruno Sportsdesk

Monaco's famed casino holds no attractions for Max Verstappen but the 20-year-old Dutchman is much more willing to take a high-speed gamble on the unforgiving streets of the Mediterranean principality.

Red Bull have been dominant in practice for tomorrow's showcase grand prix, a race that could see Verstappen line up as the youngest Formula One driver to start from pole position.

The current youngest is Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, on pole with Toro Rosso in 2008 at 21 years and 73 days. Verstappen turns 21 on September 30.

To achieve it, the Dutchman will have to beat team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who was in commanding form on Thursday with lap records in both sessions that saw the Red Bull pairing finish one-two.

Verstappen's Monaco résumé is less impressive than the Australian's and he had big accidents on his debut with Toro Rosso in 2015, when he smashed into the back of Romain Grosjean's Lotus, and 2016.

This season has also had plenty of incident but he is not about to modify his style and play it safe on a street circuit that punishes the smallest of errors.

"To make the difference on this track compared to other drivers, they all think the same way, so you have to risk it a bit more between the walls," Verstappen said.

"I'm the same person I have been since I was born. For me, nothing changes. We have a good car so we just try to extract the most out of it and hopefully we come back with a good result."

The youngster, who gets around town on a scooter when in Monaco to beat the traffic jams, has made a name for himself already as a three-times race winner and thrilling overtaker always prepared to take a punt. Monaco Grand Prix, live,

Sky Sports, 2.10 tomorrow

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