Ironically, a piece of debris from sister team AlphaTauri destroyed Max Verstappen’s hopes of winning the Formula 1 race at Silverstone. The Red Bull driver caught a front wing endplate, which became lodged on his underbody and ruined his aerodynamics. As a result, he was only seventh in the end.
Verstappen had just taken the lead from Carlos Sainz when he slowed. The Dutchman suspected a puncture and came into the pits. But the car didn’t get any better after the tire change. The team suspected damage to the car, which could have come from contact with Charles Leclerc in the early stages.
But it wasn’t until after the Grand Prix that Red Bull found out the real problem, which was an AlphaTauri front wing endplate that got caught under the car. The debris was blown off in the intra-team collision between Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda, which also cost them both possible points.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who later showed reporters a photo of Verstappen holding the endplate during the post-race debrief, estimates that disrupting his car’s airflow cost Verstappen about 20 percent of his maximum downforce.
“It felt like a puncture”
“We didn’t have any punctures,” confirms Horner. “Because it was so bad he had reported that it felt like a puncture. But basically on lap 11 he hit a piece of debris from the incident between the two AlphaTauris. It was stuck under the car and almost felt like a blockage wedged there.”
Verstappen didn’t know what the problem was during the race, but after the race he realized pretty quickly how badly it had hit his car when he examined it in the parc ferme.
“When I jumped out of the car, I looked at the underbody and underneath, on the left side, everything is broken, everything is gone,” he says. “When I took the lead after Carlos’ mistake, a short time later there was a piece of carbon in turn 5.”
“I couldn’t frantically turn left or right anymore, so I just tried to hit it right in the middle. But instead it got into my underbody and destroyed everything,” said the Dutchman.
“It felt like a puncture because I suddenly lost my balance and the car was bouncing a lot. So we decided to pit and the car was still difficult to drive after that,” says the Red Bull driver. Pilot.
P7 “another good result”
Although he and the team tried everything to find a better balance, for the rest of the race he had problems taking care of the tires: “The difficult thing was to find a good aero balance, because of course you lose especially at the back massive load to help the front wing,” explains Verstappen.
“When you do that you get overloaded and that wasn’t ideal on the hard set of tyres. We then went back up for the last set of tires but it was very difficult. At the end of the day seventh place is for the damage that we still had a good result.”