Max Verstappen says that his seventh place finish in the British Grand Prix was a “good result” after he struck debris in the early laps.
Verstappen had taken the lead after a mistake by eventual winner Carlos Sainz Jnr on lap ten. However, on lap 12, he struck debris along the Wellington Straight that had been left on track following a clash between AlphaTauri drivers Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly.
After pitting with a suspected puncture, Verstappen struggled for pace for the remaining 37 laps of the race. He eventually finished in seventh place.
“Of course I hope for more, but it’s just really unlucky what happened today,” said Verstappen. “I just never give up and just tried to do the best I could and still tried to score points.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner later explained that the debris had interfered with his floor, costing him downforce that compromised his performance.
“I didn’t ask yet how much I lost,” Verstappen explained.
“I already spoke to Carlos and he said ‘what happened? You were just losing parts’ when I was in the lead. When I jumped out of the car, I had a look under the floor and the whole left hand side underneath is completely ruptured. Like everything is gone.”
The debris he struck was unavoidable as it was sat on the racing line, Verstappen says.
“Once I got into the lead, after Carlos made the mistake, a few corners later in turn five there was a piece of carbon, but by the time I was there it was on the racing line – I could not drastically move left or right,” he explained.
“I tried to just hit it head on, but instead it just went into my floor and it just destroyed everything. It felt like a puncture, because suddenly I had no balance, a lot of oversteer and the car was hopping a lot.
“We decided to box and even after that the car was just a handful to drive. Then the tough bit was just to try and find a nice aero balance – because it caused a massive loss of mainly rear load – to try and back off the front wing. But, of course, when you do that, you just overload as well, so that wasn’t ideal on the hard tyre set. So for the last set, we went up again to try and give a bit more performance in low speed. It was very, very tough. But, at the end, I think seventh place was a good result with the damage I had.”
Verstappen had to hold off a last lap challenge from Mick Schumacher, where the Haas backed out of a last corner effort to pass the Red Bull. After the pair ran side-by-side through Brooklands earlier on the final lap, Verstappen appeared to push Schumacher off the circuit. The stewards noted but chose not to investigate the incident.
“It was a good, hard, but fair battle, I think,” said Verstappen.
“I knew Mick was going to give it all to go for seventh, but it was all right. It was a bit of a struggle for me to hang in there, but luckily it worked out.”
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