Max Verstappen says he saw the debris that heavily damaged his car but couldn’t avoid it, as he salvaged seventh place in the British Grand Prix.
The championship leader had just overtaken Carlos Sainz to take the lead of the race when he saw debris in the middle of the track. After hitting it, Verstappen suffered what he thought was a puncture as his car started to handle strangely, pitting one lap later after dropping to third place, but then struggling with a poor handling car for the rest of the race as it turned out to be aerodynamic damage to his floor.
“My race…the first two laps were very good,” Verstappen said. “We had very good pace and I was basically just reeling in Carlos and he made the mistake so I got into the lead. Then a few corners later — a piece of carbon on the track in the kink of Turn 5.
“At the time I realized 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 left hand side underneath.
“From then on, I was just losing a lot of time. The car was really undriveable. I tried to do the best I could. Because of the Safety Car, we gained a few spots; quite a lot of damage limitation today. 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 had originally taken the lead from Sainz on the opening lap when he got a better start than the Ferrari, but the race was instantly red flagged due to a big crash for Guanyu Zhou, while Alex Albon also got caught up in a separate incident.
“Most importantly, first of all, is that Zhou and Alex and all the drivers involved are OK. I think only Alex is at the hospital at the moment for checks. Let’s wait and see what happens, but I hope that everything is going to be fine.
“That was a very scary sight. Normally when you do the start and then quickly there’s a red flag, something serious has happened. I think today showed again that the halo really belongs in Formula 1. That was very important to see that.”