Max Verstappen’s “toxic” Red Bull car problem as major Silverstone change confirmed

Red Bull have been able to swap out the “destroyed” floor on Max Verstappen’s car which cost him a shot at pole of the British Grand Prix.

The Dutchman had to settle for fourth on the grid, beaten by a trio of Brits. George Russell got the better of team-mate Lewis Hamilton to snatch pole while Lando Norris was third quickest ahead of his title rival.

Verstappen had a scary moment in Q1 which saw him take a trip through the gravel at Copse. Though he was able to keep his car out of the wall, unlike team-mate Sergio Perez who beached his RB20 and qualified down in 19th, the rough surface caused damage to the floor and he lost a significant amount of downforce.

“We didn’t expect it to rain in Q1,” he said. “I skated through the gravel to not hit the wall, but that unfortunately destroyed the floor. I was happy to get into Q3 – to be P4, I’m quite happy with that.”

It is difficult to measure just how much lap time Verstappen lost as a result of the damage, or whether he would have been able to beat Russell to pole. But he will at least go into the race able to get the best out of his RB20.

Red Bull had a spare floor available for Verstappen’s car and that has been fitted. Parc ferme rules allow for like-for-like parts changes to replace those that are damaged, meaning the Dutchman will incur no penalty for having the new floor fitted.

It remains to be seen, though, whether he will have the race pace to get the better of the two Mercedes cars and the McLaren starting ahead. Helmut Marko was pleased with the result Verstappen managed to get considering the damage, but warned that there are more problems on his car that aren’t such an easy fix.

Max Verstappen took a trip through the gravel during qualifying
Max Verstappen took a trip through the gravel during qualifying 
Image:
Formula 1 via Getty Images)

He told Sky Germany: “I am over the moon. Max went off the track at turn nine and sustained damage that was around 100 points of downforce. The mechanics did what was possible in this short time in terms of repair work. For the rest, we made some adjustments to the wings so we were able to reduce the damage to about 20 percent for the last part of qualifying. Fourth place is sensational.

“The car is toxic. Above all, the car does not always react in the same way. The wind also plays a role, we are definitely at the limit. I actually don’t think pole position would have been possible, but maybe P2.”

More changeable conditions are expected for the race and there were spells of scattered showers at Silverstone throughout the morning. Hamilton said after qualifying that he was hoping for more rain as he always feels “more comfortable” in the wet.

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