Formula 1 Racing

Red Bull insists Verstappen had floor damage despite post-F1 race confusion

Red Bull insists Verstappen had floor damage despite post-F1 race confusion

Verstappen found himself unable to match the pace of Norris after the safety car restart at Sunday’s Miami race, opening the door for his McLaren rival to secure the maiden victory of his career.

The Dutchman had put down his lack of pace to balance difficulties he had experienced all weekend and being uncomfortable with the hard tyres that he had switched to prior to the restart.

But post-race analysis of Verstappen’s Red Bull had revealed that the world champion had picked up damage to his floor – most likely as a result of running over the chicane kerbs and taking out the bollard on lap 22.

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Speaking afterwards, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: “I don’t think we had a great balance all weekend. Obviously, he hit the bollard around lap 20 and that has actually done quite a lot of damage to the underside of the car, so we will have to look at exactly what the effect of that was.

“It is a reasonable amount of the area around the left rear floor. There is a reasonable amount that’s missing and you can see it awfully flexing as well, so it certainly wouldn’t be helping.”

Horner’s comments seemed to fly in the face of Verstappen’s reaction getting out of the car when he suggested that his pace problems had all been down to set up and tyres and that he felt there had been no damage.

“I never really felt comfortable the whole weekend with it,” he said. “I think on the medium it was still OK-ish, but on the hard it was quite a disaster. 

“I mean, just low grip, just very tricky balance in the low-speed. I couldn’t really lean on the rear while in the high-speed I was understeering a lot. So when you have these two issues, you cannot also balance it out because you’re chasing two different things. So yeah, just driving to the grip that I had and it was not a lot.”

Speaking about the incident with the cone, he said: “I didn’t like it, so I decided to take it out and test the durability of the front wing as well. So that’s a crash test done. Yeah, there was no damage. The cone was out of the way for everyone, so it was basically a free-for-all after that.”

Asked specifically though about Horner’s suggestions of his pace drop being down to damage, Verstappen replied: “It didn’t feel different, so I don’t know. Maybe it was already damaged. I don’t know. I mean I hit that thing and then my pace was the same so I…

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