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Formula 1 Monaco GP

Verstappen: Red Bull now needs to be at 100% in F1, and hasn't been

Max Verstappen says his Red Bull Formula 1 team now needs to operate at 100 percent to keep winning and admits it hasn't done so in recent races.

Verstappen and Red Bull's dominance since the second half of 2022 has been such that the Dutchman has largely cruised to his second and third world titles, with observers expecting the radically different RB20 would keep the Milton Keynes-based squad's advantage intact.
But gradual upgrades by McLaren and Ferrari have now all but closed the gap between the top three teams, with Lando Norris winning in Miami and running Verstappen extremely close in Imola.
In Italy Red Bull struggled with the balance and behaviour of its car in free practice, forcing the team to dig deep from Friday to Saturday and produce a better set-up for the rest of the weekend.
But still, Verstappen largely prevented an all-McLaren front row by virtue of a powerful tow by Haas' Nico Hulkenberg and then used his track position to keep Norris at bay in the race.
Verstappen acknowledged Miami and Imola are proof that Red Bull no longer has any margin for error and now must execute race weekends perfectly to keep winning the way it has done.
"I think after Miami, it was quite clear when we went into Imola, it had all closed up quite a bit, even though Imola was probably also not our easiest weekend," Verstappen said.
"For sure, Monaco is always like that anyway and it will depend now who will put more performance on the car, find the best possible set-up on the car."
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

"Things have closed up which makes it of course very important to try and be at our very best, 100 percent.
"I know that is not always a very realistic possibility, but you always try to get to a certain point and maybe the last few races we haven't been operating at that.
"But every single weekend we try again to find the best possible set-up in the car."
Verstappen was particularly cautious about his Monaco prospects this weekend because low-speed performance and kerb riding have been Red Bull's rare weaknesses, leading to its advisor Helmut Marko tipping Ferrari as the pre-event favourite.
"Looking at the track layout, it's probably not going to be our best track, just because our car normally struggles a bit over bumps and kerbs," Verstappen warned.
"We did work on it a bit compared to last year and so far, on most of the tracks that we've been to, our low-speed performance has improved a little bit, but I don't think this is going to be a very easy weekend.
But Monaco never is very straightforward, even when you are supposed to have the best car. A lot of things can go wrong, so we just need to be on it.
"Imola started off really bad and we managed to turn it around. I wouldn't want to have a weekend like that again."

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