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Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen ready to take a gamble in Monaco GP

Red Bull have been dominant in practice for the Monaco Grand Prix, a race that could see Max Verstappen line up as the youngest Formula One driver ever to start from pole position.

other sports Updated: May 25, 2018 15:12 IST
Reuters, Monaco
Red Bull Racing,Max Verstappen,Monaco GP
Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen walks in the pits after the second practice session at the Monaco street circuit on May 24, 2018 in Monaco, ahead of the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix. (AFP)

Monaco’s famed casino holds no attractions for Max Verstappen but the 20-year-old Dutchman is much more willing to take a high-speed gamble on the unforgiving streets of the Mediterranean principality.

Red Bull have been dominant in practice for Sunday’s showcase grand prix, a race that could see Verstappen line up as the youngest Formula One driver ever to start from pole position.

The current youngest is Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, on pole with Toro Rosso in 2008 at 21 years and 73 days. Verstappen turns 21 on Sept. 30.

To achieve it, the Dutchman will have to beat team mate Daniel Ricciardo, who was in commanding form on Thursday with lap records in both sessions that saw the Red Bull pairing finish one-two.

READ | Daniel Ricciardo smashes Formula One Monaco Grand Prix lap record in practice

Verstappen’s Monaco resume is less impressive than the Australian’s and he had big accidents on his debut with Toro Rosso in 2015, when he smashed into the back of Romain Grosjean’s Lotus, and 2016.

This season has also had plenty of incident but he is not about to modify his style and play it safe on a street circuit that punishes the smallest of errors.

“To make the difference on this track compared toother drivers, they all think the same way, so you have to risk it a bit more between the walls,” Verstappen told reporters when asked whether he would be prepared to take a gamble.

“I’m the same person I have been since I was born. For me, nothing changes. We have a good car so we just try to extract the most out of it and hopefully we come back with a good result.”

READ | Red Bull boss says ‘grotesque sums of money’ holding up Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes deal

The youngster, who gets around town on a scooter when in Monaco to beat the traffic jams, has made a name for himself already as a three times race winner and thrilling overtaker always prepared to take a punt.

He is not a gambler in any other respect, however.

“I don’t like gambling. I think it’s just stupid in general,” he said.

“You go there (to the casino) to lose doesn’t make sense. I would prefer to buy something for (instead of) the money you lose.”

READ | Sebastian Vettel happy racing alongside Kimi Raikonnen at Ferrari

Asked whether he had ever ventured inside the imposing 19th century Monaco landmark that provides a backdrop to cars racing through Casino Square, Verstappen smiled.

“Yep. I won 300 euros ($351.18) and I’m never going to go back again.”

First Published: May 25, 2018 15:12 IST