Red Bull’s Max Verstappen caused an early red flag during FP1 for the Italian Grand Prix. The Dutchman lost control of his RB16 towards the exit of the Ascari chicane and careened off into the wall. Verstappen managed to keep the car running but returned to the pits with an obliterated front wing and possible damage to the front of his Red Bull.
Exiting the chicane in the final sector of the lap, Verstappen pinned the throttle and ended up spinning his RB16, losing control and crashing into the barrier. The Dutchman didn’t report wing damage but it was more than apparent and returned to the pits.
Fortunately, the session’s red flag didn’t last too long. As things stand, Valtteri Bottas leads free practice 1 with a Mercedes 1-2 at Monza.
Fans may remember the Ascari chicane from last year – causing Sebastian Vettel to spin out during last year’s race. However, unlike Verstappen’s crash, Vettel lost his SF90 at the entry of the chicane. With the majority of the lap flat out and relatively simple, the exit of the Ascari chicane makes all the difference in lap time.
Despite his early spin, Verstappen currently sits P3 in the timing charts. With the mighty Mercedes engine, the German team is likely to end the session and possibly qualifying with another 1-2.
Verstappen’s finished in third on multiple occasions, which raised questions over his motivation in F1. However, the Dutchman asserted that he wasn’t unhappy finishing behind the two Mercedes’.
“I don’t understand why people think you wouldn’t be motivated!” Verstappen said.
“You have one of the best jobs in the world, you’re driving super-fast cars, and I’m driving third or second and I have one win [in 2020], so I find it incredible that people think you wouldn’t be motivated.
“It’s really stupid. I love what I’m doing. Every weekend I come here, and I love driving the car. So I want to, of course, try to challenge [Mercedes]. But if it’s not possible I settle for the best result possible in the car I have – and then I’m still enjoying it.
F1 returns this weekend with the Italian Grand Prix on September 6.