Verstappen reveals part of floor was ‘completely destroyed’ by debris after lowly P7 finish at Silverstone
Max Verstappen was looking in great shape to continue his fine run of form – five wins in six races – in the early stages of the British Grand Prix, but after hitting a piece of debris that caused significant damage to his Red Bull, it became a race of “damage limitation” as he wound up P7.
The championship leader used his soft tyres to perfection to snatch the lead off Carlos Sainz at the start, only for the grid to be reset after a red flag was thrown following big crashes for Zhou Guanyu and Alex Albon.
His second start wasn’t as good, but he snuck into the lead when Sainz ran off track, but then started to slow after hitting a piece of carbon, which necessitated a pit stop and hauled him out of contention. He fought on with a damaged car and ultimately finished seventh.
“The first few laps I think were very good,” said Verstappen. “We had very good pace and I was basically just reeling in Carlos and... then he made a mistake so I got into the lead.
“Then a few corners later, it was like a piece of carbon on the track in the kink of Turn 5 and at the time, I realised it was there, I could not drastically move left or right, so I tried to hit it head on.
“Normally it just evaporates or explodes, but this time it got into the floor and it completely destroyed the whole left-hand side underneath, so from there onwards I was losing a lot of time.
“The car was really undrivable, so I tried to the best I could. And I actually think because of the Safety Car, we gained a few spots, so yes, quite a lot of damage limitation.”
He added: “I tried everything I could with the car I had. It’s of course not what I want but sometimes you have those races which just become a bit unlucky.”
Verstappen –who enjoyed a tooth-and-nail scrap in the final laps with Mick Schumacher, as the German scored his first F1 points – retains his championship lead but it has been cut to 34 points by team mate Sergio Perez with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc nine further back.