“Left rear floor” damage after bollard strike hampered Verstappen in F1 Miami GP — Horner

Max Verstappen on the podium in Miami
Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool
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Max Verstappen floundered in the closing stages of Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix and was left powerless to attack eventual race winner Lando Norris.

Red Bull has revealed that the Dutchman’s alarming drop in pace was caused by floor damage sustained during the race. 

The reigning world champion clattered into a bollard at Turn 15 after trying to catch a snap of oversteer on lap 22 laps. He was holding a 3.7s lead over Oscar Piastri at that stage.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner went into detail about the race and what happened.

“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.”

Despite Horner putting the lack of speed at the end of the Grand Prix down to damage, Verstappen was adamant his RB20 had no issues and said his struggles were due to a difficult car to drive on the limit.

“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.”

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Horner said that after the race, Verstappen struggled at Turn 1 as he was losing a couple of tenths a lap, as shown in the team’s data.

“He lost two-and-a-half-tenths in Turn 1 every lap,” he said. “Whether that was because of the damage, when you actually see the pictures of what was missing, it wasn’t designed like that.”

Verstappen added in the Red Bull press release that the car was clearly damaged when he returned to the garage.

“When we took the car back to the garage, we also found that the floor was damaged and had a hole in which could have been picked up from hitting the cone.”