F1 season preview as Max Verstappen looks to defend world title
Max Verstappen will be chasing his fourth win of the season at this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix as he looks to extend his lead at the top of the F1 Drivers’ Championship. But Sky Sports’ Ted Kravitz thinks two-time world champion Fernando Alonso will instead pass the chequered flag in first position and land the 33rd race victory of his career.
“I am going with 33, I am going with the 33rd win for Fernando Alonso,” Kravitz told the Sky Sports F1 podcast. “I am going to get onboard with that hype train. I know he’s invested a lot into it. It’s a bit of a draggy car but it’s got great tyre performance and he’s such a clever guy who knows how to win around Monaco.
“I know Max does, I know Lewis [Hamilton] does. I just think it’s the result that he’s after and I think it would be a result maybe F1 needs.”
Verstappen could only muster a third-place finish at last season’s Monaco Grand Prix as Sergio Perez won the race. But the Dutchman was said to be irked following suggestions that Perez had crashed on purpose during qualifying to ensure he outqualified his team-mate. Verstappen then refused to follow team orders at the Brazilian Grand Prix in November after being told to let Perez move past him to aid his battle for second place in the standings.
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“It’s all been smiles between the Red Bull pairing considering how it ended last year,” Simon Lazenby continued. “Let’s not forget how it started – it started at Monaco with Perez’s little park.”
And Kravitz added: “Well that’s the other reason why Verstappen wants to win and why I am completely wrong about Alonso winning Monaco. Verstappen will want to win Monaco because of that, because of the disappointment of last year.”
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Verstappen remained at the top of this season’s F1 standings after winning the Miami Grand Prix earlier this month. The 25-year-old started the race from ninth position following an error in qualifying but moved through the pack to win the race by five seconds.
“It was a good race,” Verstappen said. “I stayed out of trouble at the beginning, had a clean race, picked off the cars one by one and I could stay out really long on the hard tyre. I think that’s where we made the difference today and then a good little battle with Checo at the end.”
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