Damaged floor cost Verstappen in Silverstone

Max Verstappen

World championship leader Max Verstappen struggled to seventh in the Formula 1 British Grand Prix after striking debris in the early laps.

The Dutchman was battling for the lead in the opening phase of the race before capitalising on a mistake from Carlos Sainz at Becketts.

However, his time out front was brief as just half a lap later he ran over debris that forced him initially into the pits and ultimately dropped him down the order.

“The first few laps I think were very good,” Verstappen reasoned.

“We had very good pace and I was basically just reeling in Carlos until then he made the mistakes I got into the lead.

“But then, a few corners later, there was like a piece of carbon on the track in the kink of Turn 5 [Aintree].

“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 then it just evaporates, or explodes, but this time it got into the floor and it completely destroyed the whole left-hand side underneath.

“From there onwards, I was just losing a lot of time. The car was really undriveable, so try to do the best I could.

“I actually think, because of the Safety Car, we gained a few spots, so quite a lot of damage limitation today.”

Initially, Verstappen reported to the pits that he had a puncture, though team boss Christian Horner confirmed post-race that was not the case.

“There was no puncture,” he clarified.

“He reported, because it was so bad, that it felt like a puncture.

“Basically, on Lap 11, he hit a piece of debris, which was an AlphaTauri part from the incident they had.

“He’s then done the race with a modified floor with a piece of AlphaTauri endplate stuck under the bottom of the car.”

The debris effective created a blockage in the floor, seeing Verstappen haemorrhage time.

“He’s lost just an enormous amount of downforce,” Horner noted.

“He was going fine, I think he could see that he was quicker than certainly Carlos [Sainz] and was just not wanting to take too much out of the tyre too early.

“[He] worked his way up to the back of him, made the pass and then unfortunately, literally one lap later, hit the debris.

“Then he reported a puncture, but we couldn’t see it on the data, but you’ve got to trust the driver.

“So we pitted precautionary and then we saw that there were several – in fact, Carlos Sainz, I think, said when he was following, bits were coming out from the bottom of Max’s car.

“On the medium tyre, obviously he was fighting as hard as he could, but suddenly your race becomes very focused on suddenly the cars that you’re racing against, which are more Alpines and Astons at that stage.”

Following his initial stop, the championship leader emerged in sixth, holding that place until he stopped again on Lap 23.

Dropping to eighth, he climbed just one spot higher through the balance of the 52-lap race to score six championship points.

Sainz went on to win the dramatic encounter from Red Bull of Sergio Perez, who recovered to second after suffering a damaged front wing early in the race that saw him pit on Lap 6 and classified last on Lap 7.

Formula 1 heads straight to Austria next and the Red Bull Ring, where opening practice begins on Friday.

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