Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen only came sixth in Monaco, and Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur has claimed it was a disappointing finish waiting to happen.

Red Bull and Verstappen have been borderline unbeatable in recent seasons, with the last two constructors' titles going to the former while Verstappen is now a three-time defending world champion.

The Dutchman remains on course for a fourth consecutive drivers' title, but could only finish sixth at the recent Monaco Grand Prix, nearly 14 seconds off Charles Leclerc's race-setting time.

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It was an abject outing for RBR, with Verstappen's teammate Sergio Perez crashing out after a collision which also left Haas pair Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen with DNFs.

Leclerc has now closed the gap to Verstappen atop the season standings to 31 points, and Vasseur thinks the wheels could be ready to come off RBR's challenge, despite Verstappen winning five of the previous seven GPs.

Red Bull's 'comfort zone'

"I don't want to draw any conclusions about this weekend, but if you look at the last two or three weekends, I think Max made more mistakes in Imola than in the last three seasons," the Scuderia boss said of the previous Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, which Verstappen won.

"If you can stay in your comfort zone every time with the strategy and everything else, you don't make mistakes. They were in that situation, but now they have to push more."

The intimation is clear: Vasseur thinks Ferrari - who will sign Lewis Hamilton from Mercedes at the end of the season - are closing the gap.

"We just didn't see them," he continued. "It became evident because they hadn't [previously] been forced to go to the limit.

"I think last year they had a very decent gap that sometimes we were able to fight with them for the quali. But in the race average it was four or five tenths.

"That means that when you have four or five tenths of difference, you're not really at risk…"

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2024-05-28T20:25:43Z dg43tfdfdgfd