Max Verstappen Monaco qualifying [800x450]
Max Verstappen Monaco qualifying [800x450] (Credit: Emmanuele Ciancaglini/Ciancaphoto Studio/Getty Images)

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MONACO -- Max Verstappen said the Monaco street circuit exposed the weaknesses of his Red Bull car after his run of eight consecutive pole positions came to an end on Saturday with a sixth-place grid slot for Sunday's grand prix.

Verstappen struggled for performance throughout Monaco's three practice sessions, blaming the lost lap time on his Red Bull's unwillingness to ride bumps and kerbs around the street circuit.

In qualifying, he aborted his final run after a brush with the wall at Turn One and finished 0.297 seconds off the pole position time of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

"We tried a lot of things on the car [during practice], literally nothing made it better, so you're just stuck," Verstappen said.

"We really tried to optimise it but at one point when you're stuck with that... you can see in the second sector of the lap we are so bad, just because I can't touch any kerbs as it just upsets the car too much. We just lose a lot of lap time and it's incredibly difficult.

"We went soft [with the suspension], stiff, everything, but the car is like a go-kart, it's like I'm running without suspension. It's jumping around a lot, not absorbing any kerb strikes or bumps or camber changes, the last corner I think the amount of times I just jumped almost into the wall is really incredible."

Verstappen said the problem is not new to this year's car, but when his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez won in Monaco in 2022 and when he won the race last year, rival teams like Ferrari and McLaren were not close enough to expose the problem.

"It's not something new, I mean we've had this problem since 2022, but of course for the last two years we had a car advantage and it gets masked a little bit as we gain a bit in the corners where the kerbs and the bumps are not the limitation.

"But with everyone catching up naturally when you're not improving your weakest point you get found out and that's what happened this weekend."

Verstappen said adapting the car's ride over bumps will not be a quick fix this year, and will likely remain an issue at circuits where kerb riding is important for lap time, including the next round in Canada.

"Spain [after Canada] has no bumps, so that's probably better for us. But some tracks with bumps where you have to ride kerbs, there are definitely a few tracks not ideal for us but also probably some races suit our car more.

"We know where we have to work on. There's one clear direction where we are still lacking quite a bit of performance and already if we can fix that our car can be better on every single track."