Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has confirmed that a piece of debris from one of the AlphaTauri cars was the cause of the unravelling of Max Verstappen’s race on Sunday.
The Dutchman had taken the lead from Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz when the Spaniard lost control and ran wide at Chapel, only for a bit of debris to whack the underside of the 24-year-old’s car.
Verstappen then began to slow down as he headed through Maggots, and reported over the radio that he had a puncture, but Horner confirmed that there was no damage to the tyre.
“He didn’t have a puncture, he reported it because it was so bad, it felt like a puncture,” he said.
Yuki Tsunoda attempted an audacious move on team-mate Gasly heading into Village on lap 11, ruining their chances of getting into the points, and they left behind some carbon fibre as they left the scene of the incident.
“He hit a piece of debris which was an AlphaTauri part from the incident they had,” explained Horner.
“So he has then done the race with a modified floor with a piece of an AlphaTauri endplate stuck underneath the car, it stayed in there.”
The 48-year-old described the extent of the damage caused to his driver’s car.
“It has gone in like a shark,” said Horner.
“It has wedged itself, almost like a blockage. It got stuck under there so a fairly modified floor for the rest of the race. He lost an enormous amount of downforce.”
Verstappen had initially taken the lead off the start, but the positions were reverted to the original starting grid following the red flag caused by the enormous shunt at the start.
George Russell made contact with Gasly, causing the Mercedes to hit Zhou Guanyu and launch him upside down into the gravel trap, where the Alfa Romeo car dug in and was sent over the barrier and into the fence.
At the same time, Alex Albon braked to try and avoid the accident, sending Sebastian Vettel into the back of him, and the Thai-Briton subsequently went into the wall before coming back across the track and hitting Esteban Ocon and Tsunoda.
Both Zhou and Albon were taken for medical checks, and both are now fine, which was Horner’s primary concern.
“After the horrible accident with Zhou and Alex, thankfully, all the drivers are in reasonable shape so that was the biggest result,” he stated.
“Frustrating because we actually nailed the start and I think that would have been a different race if we had continued, particularly for Max, but that was not to be.”
Verstappen ended the race seventh, holding off Mick Schumacher as the German scored his first Formula 1 points as Sainz won the race.