Max Verstappen admitted that he had to apologise to the Red Bull team, and his mechanics in particular, after exiting the Monaco Grand Prix in his second big accident of the weekend.
The Dutchman, fresh from a debut win for the team in Barcelona, had to start the 78-lap race from the pit-lane after crunching his RB12 into the barriers at the Swimming Pool in the first phase of qualifying on Saturday afternoon, but was able to quickly catch the pack after the race started behind the safety car in heavy rain.
Once the field was released, he was soon picking off the slower backmarkers while on the full wet tyre, and continued to make progress after stopping to fit the intermediate as conditions improved. Having made it into the points and stopped a second time to switch to slicks, however, Verstappen learned for a second time – or third if you take into account last year's violent exit from the race – that Monaco is just waiting to bite.
Despite appearing comfortable in the still tricky conditions, the teenager made a mistake on the climb to Massenet and, having locked a wheel going over the rise, could do nothing to prevent himself having another meeting with the Armco, wiping off the right-hand side of his Red Bull and leaving himself with bruises to both his knee and his pride.
“At the beginning of the race, it felt good – I had good pace, did some overtaking – so it was all going pretty well up until then,” he sighed, “Following the pack, I knew from there that it was [going to be] difficult to get past, but I locked up and got off the line. It was still wet on the outside so, from there, I was just a passenger.
“I hit the wall pretty hard and hurt my knee a bit but, in the end, I have to apologise to the team because it shouldn't happen. The rest [of me] is all fine, but we have to rebuild the car again.”
After his stunning win in Spain, Verstappen had already spent Saturday evening fending off suggestions that he had literally come back down to earth with a bump, and appears similarly prepared to do the same as he leaves the Principality.
“Of course, it's not what I want and I have to apologise to the team as they worked very hard to get the car prepared and I didn't give them the result they deserved,” he sighed, “But, in the end, that's what racing is about – it can go up and down very quickly.
“It was really tricky in the beginning of the race, a very slippery track, but it got better and better as the track was drying. I had great pace, I was overtaking cars and charging through the field. Everything felt well [until the accident]…”
Call it the naivety of youth, or just unflappable confidence, but Verstappen is already putting the disappointment of Monaco behind him and turning his attention to Canada in a couple of weeks' time.
“Of course, I am not as happy [leaving here] as I was leaving Barcelona, that's for sure, but you have ups and downs in your life,” he emphasised, “This is definitely a down - so far Monaco doesn't like me and I don't like Monaco - but you learn from those moments and you come back stronger. You shouldn't back off because of this. You should keep positive, keep pushing and learn a lot from those moments as well. I've learned from this and, hopefully, we can come back stronger in Canada.”