Max Verstappen leads the drivers’ championship by 14 points from Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez going into the Monaco GP; but the RB19 could be seriously challenged by Ferrari and Aston Martin this weekend; watch the Monaco GP live on Sky Sports F1 this weekend
Last Updated: 25/05/23 6:00pm
Max Verstappen believes this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix will probably be the most likely race for Red Bull to win.
Red Bull have won all five events so far in 2023, with Verstappen taking three victories and team-mate Perez standing on the top step of the podium twice.
Ferrari were able to beat Red Bull over one lap at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last month and have also been very strong in the slow-speed corners, so could be the team to beat in Monaco.
Asked by Sky Sports about his chances, Verstappen answered: “Probably the most difficult one to win. Because you know that once you have a bit of a setback in qualifying, for example, you can’t really pass in the race. We’ll see.
“It needs to be like a severe disaster up front [to overtake], like last year. This doesn’t happen every year, especially with the weather involved. It can become a bit critical. If it’s just a normal straightforward race, normally there is not much you can do.
“I want to win, but I also know that it doesn’t give you any more [extra] points to win in Monaco, so it is what it is, you try to do the best you can and then you go again for the next one.”
Verstappen sees Leclerc is biggest threat
Charles Leclerc was the driver to interrupt the Red Bull run of pole positions with his stunning lap in Baku.
Verstappen, who leads the championship by 14 points from Perez, sees the Monegasque as Red Bull’s biggest threat.
“Charles, or Ferrari in general [should be quick]. Carlos is also handy around here,” he said.
“Also I think Aston Martin are quite good in the slow speed. It’s going to be a little bit more difficult, closer together. We still have a good car, it’s just trying to extract the most out of it.
“We know over one lap it’s not our strongest point but nevertheless we still took quite a few pole positions this year. It’s still possible but, for sure, Monaco can be quite a surprise.”
Perez admits Monaco is not Red Bull’s strongest circuit
Red Bull are 122 points ahead of nearest challengers Aston Martin in the constructors’ championship and have a good record at Monaco in F1’s turbo-hybrid era, often performing better than normal.
However, the strengths of their 2023 machine has been its efficiency on the straights and downforce in the higher speed corners, which Perez alluded to.
“We certainly know that it’s not our strongest circuit. We know that we will struggle a bit to show our strengths,” said last year’s Monaco GP winner.
“I think come Saturday you really need that good warm-up on your tyre. That definitely is the key around here. Let’s say it’s not our strongest circuit, but we will see. It’s still Monaco and anything can happen.
“Certainly, I think Fernando, the Ferraris, I do expect them to be quite strong as well like they were in Baku and also Mercedes can be in the mix.”
Sky Sports F1‘s live Monaco GP schedule
Friday May 26
10.05am: F3 Qualifying
12pm: Monaco GP Practice One (session starts 12.30pm)
2.05pm: F2 Qualifying
3.45pm: Monaco GP Practice Two (session starts 4pm)
5.30pm: The F1 Show: Monaco
Saturday May 27
9.55am: F3 Sprint
11.15am: Monaco GP Practice Three (session starts 11.30am)
1.30pm: F2 Sprint
2:30pm: Monaco GP Qualifying build-up
3pm: Monaco GP Qualifying
4.45pm: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook
Sunday May 28
7.15am: F3 Feature Race
8.45am: F2 Feature Race
12.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday Monaco GP build-up
2pm: THE MONACO GRAND PRIX
4pm: Chequered Flag Monaco GP reaction
5pm: Ted’s Notebook
5.30pm: The 107th Indy 500
Formula 1 now heads to the streets of Monaco for the sixth Grand Prix of the 2023 season – watch all the action on Sky Sports F1 from May 26-28. Get Sky Sports