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Verstappen ran on wrong torque mode for most of Monaco GP

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Verstappen ran on wrong torque mode for most of Monaco GP
By:
May 27, 2019, 9:20 AM

Monaco Grand Prix nearly-man Max Verstappen spent most of his race in the wrong Formula 1 engine torque mode after the pitlane incident he had with Valtteri Bottas.

Verstappen was told to move to 'Torque 12' as he entered the pitlane for his sole pitstop under the early safety car, then change to 'Torque 6' as he exited.

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However, moments after leaving the pitlane Verstappen radioed to say: "Shit, I didn't do the torque."

The change in question should have moved Verstappen to a standard race map from what he needed for the start, and cannot be made while the car is running normally on track.

That meant Verstappen was stuck with a torque setting that Honda F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe told Motorsport.com was a "big" difference to the standard map.

It is understood to have had a significant impact on the behaviour of the engine, and Verstappen had to manage that for more than 60 laps while trying to put pressure on and try to pass race leader Lewis Hamilton.

Tanabe said Honda tried to help Verstappen with parameters at its disposal but was only able to address "a tiny amount of that difference".

Verstappen still finished second on the road although a time penalty for Red Bull's pitlane infringement and his run-in with Bottas dropped him to fourth.

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Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB15, and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10, battle in the pit lane

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB15, and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10, battle in the pit lane
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Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10 and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB15 battle in the pit lane

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10 and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB15 battle in the pit lane
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Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB15, and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10, battle in the pit lane

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB15, and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10, battle in the pit lane
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Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB15, and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10, battle in the pit lane

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB15, and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10, battle in the pit lane
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Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB15, and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10, battle in the pit lane

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB15, and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10, battle in the pit lane
5/6

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB15, and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10, battle in the pit lane

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB15, and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10, battle in the pit lane
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Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

He had been released in the pitlane just as Bottas came past, and as the two ran side-by-side they made minor contact, which crucially distracted both driver and team.

"Once on track you're stuck with it and we only did one stop," said Verstappen. "Normally I would always go back, but of course with the touch, looking in the mirror all the time, and then I think the team were also a little bit shocked with the whole thing, they were also checking for damage.

"Normally they remind me but obviously it's my job to still do it. I also forgot with all the hectic scenarios."

Torque mapping impacts the torque delivered by the engine and how that is matched to the drivers' demand through the throttle pedal.

A few corners after realising his mistake, Verstappen queried if the team could do something about it, but was told "no, we're stuck with that one now mate" and told to "be aware that's going to be pretty aggressive".

Verstappen pushed for the team to try to find a potential solution, and he was told to go to 'Engine 12, Position 2' to increase the lag and "see if that's any better".

He countered that he already had lag out of the corner, and was then told to move to 'Engine 12, Position 13'.

Verstappen explained: "I had massive lag on the first couple [of laps], I can't say the exact number, but quite a lot of percentage of going on the throttle. So I had nothing, and then the power kicked in. It wasn't nice to drive but I managed to drive around the problem."

Verstappen also had a gear synchronisation issue later in the race, but this was dismissed as a minor sensor problem that was quickly solved.

Additional reporting by Stuart Codling

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