Max Verstappen has downplayed his string of incidents at the start of the Formula 1 season after crashing out of qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday, leaving him at the back of the grid for the race.

Verstappen crashed out of qualifying after touching the inside barrier at the Swimming Pool chicane, damaging his front-right wheel that left him to career into the wall at the exit of the corner.

The damage sustained to his Red Bull car meant he was unable to take part in qualifying, having been forced into a gearbox change after a leak was found on the car just as it was fired up ahead of Q1.

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Asked to explain the incident, Verstappen said: "I clipped the inside barrier. I got a little bit caught off guard with the slow car, but that’s not an excuse, and I hit the wall.

"It’s all happening that quick at that stage when you get a little bit distracted, I guess I just turned in a little bit earlier than normal - or clearly turned in earlier…"

Verstappen's crash follows previous incidents in Australia (where he spun in the race), Bahrain (crashed in qualifying and hit Lewis Hamilton in the race), China (went off trying to pass Hamilton, and hit Vettel in the race), Baku (crashed with teammate Daniel Ricciardo) and Spain (touched Lance Stroll behind the Virtual Safety Car).

However, the Dutchman downplayed his record of incidents, denying there had been six races in a row.

"I wouldn’t call Barcelona an incident. I think this, together with China, was my mistake," Verstappen said.

"It’s of course not what you’d like to happen, but unfortunately it happens."

Asked how he could explain his recurring incidents, Verstappen said: "At the moment, I can’t.

"The team will always be behind me, in good and bad times. It goes either way. Last year, with a lot of engine problems and stuff, I was exactly the same.

"We work as a team. You win and lose together."

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