Red Bull driver programme boss Helmut Marko said the team banned Max Verstappen from a fastest lap attempt in Monaco.
Just as momentum in the 2021 title fight was starting to shift heavily into Mercedes’ favour, Red Bull struck back in style as Verstappen claimed victory around the streets of Monte Carlo.
A solid recovery drive saw Sergio Perez cross the line P4 in the other Red Bull, while Lewis Hamilton was the highest-finishing Mercedes in P7.
Valtteri Bottas meanwhile suffered a DNF after a wheel nut got stuck onto the axle of his W12 in the pits – he had been running P2.
It was all great news for Red Bull though who took over the lead of the Constructors’ Championship, while Verstappen left Monaco as the Drivers’ Championship leader for the first time in his career.
There was one point though that Verstappen was unable to hoover up in Monaco, that being the bonus one on Sunday with Hamilton instead claiming that by setting the fastest lap of the race.
And in fact, Red Bull had made it very clear to their star driver that he was not allowed to go for fastest lap.
“He showed that he has reached a different level of maturity,” Marko told Sky Germany as he reflected on Verstappen’s Monaco GP.
“We always warned him about the different fuel consumption mappings to adopt and things like that, and he had to adapt, when he started asking who had set the fastest lap and with what time, we immediately blocked him and yelled at him not to think about it at all!”
As Verstappen lifted the winner’s trophy in Monaco, it marked his first appearance on the podium at this iconic venue.
And Marko expects this achievement to give the Dutchman a big confidence boost, one which will be “very important for the future”.
“We had never managed to get on the podium with Max despite our car being able to fight for victory in the past, and [Daniel] Ricciardo is proof of that,” Marko explained.
“I think this success can give him an extra boost and will give him more confidence and control when driving. I think the win in Monaco will be very important for the future.”