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Horner says Verstappen picked up ‘a lot of damage’ after hitting bollard in Miami GP

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MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 05: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing

Christian Horner says Max Verstappen suffered “quite a lot of damage” to his Red Bull after hitting a bollard during the Miami Grand Prix, with the team set to investigate how much this may have impacted his pace in the second half of the race.

Verstappen was leading the race when he ran over a chicane at Turns 14/15, causing him to dislodge the bollard and carry it along with him before it then landed on the track at the exit of Turn 16, resulting in a Virtual Safety Car being called while it was cleared by a marshal.

READ MORE: Verstappen admits he could do nothing to stop ‘flying’ Norris as Dutchman heaps praise on rival for maiden F1 win

The incident prompted Verstappen to ask the team to check on his front wing, and he then made his first pit stop at the end of Lap 23 after the VSC period had ended.

As other cars soon pitted, Lando Norris found himself in the lead when a full Safety Car was deployed on Lap 27 following a collision between Logan Sargeant and Kevin Magnussen, enabling the Briton to make a quick visit to the pits and return to the track in P1.

From there Norris managed to build a gap to Verstappen in P2, with the margin standing at seven seconds when the McLaren driver crossed the line to take his first win in Formula 1.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 05: Race winner Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren and Second placed

Verstappen was beaten to victory by Norris in the Miami Grand Prix

Reflecting on the race afterwards, Horner suggested that the impact on Verstappen’s car from the earlier bollard incident meant that ending the event in second place was actually a good outcome.

“He hit the bollard around Lap 20, and that’s actually done quite a lot of damage to the underside of the car, so we’ll have to look at exactly what the effect of that has been,” the Team Principal said.

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“He had enough pace at that point, he was pulling clear of Oscar [Piastri] behind and Lando before he picked up that damage. Obviously thereafter we then pitted. The Safety Car came out at the best time for Lando and gave him essentially a free stop, but obviously not great for us because then you’re on [tyres that are] five, six, seven laps older.

“And with the damage, I think second place was actually a decent result.”

Pushed further on the extent of the damage to Verstappen’s RB20, Horner added: “It’s a reasonable amount. The area around the left rear floor, there’s a reasonable amount that’s missing.

“I think when you actually see the pictures of what was missing, it wasn’t designed like that!”

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - MAY 05: Oracle Red Bull Racing driver Sergio Perez #11 of Mexico locks his

Perez narrowly avoiding making contact with Verstappen after locking up into Turn 1 on the opening lap of the race

Asked after the race if he had felt any damage to the car following his contact with the bollard, Verstappen stated that it “didn’t feel different”.

“Maybe it was already damaged. I don't know,” he continued. “I mean I hit that thing and then my pace was the same, so I didn't really know if there was damage.”

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Verstappen had earlier avoided another potentially damaging moment at the start of the race when Sergio Perez locked up heavily into Turn 1, with the Mexican’s car coming incredibly close to making contact with his team mate (see the clip below).

“His start was optimistic!” Horner joked when discussing the incident. “Obviously Charles [Leclerc] didn’t have a great start, Checo had to lift for Charles and then he left him a window into the first corner.

“He went for it and then obviously got in very deep, and [he] was lucky not to collect Max at the first turn and then collect the Ferrari coming back onto the track after the first turn, so I was pleased to see both cars survive that.”

2024 Miami Grand Prix: Perez overshoots Turn 1 and almost hits Verstappen on the race start

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