[Verstappen explains F1 British GP qualifying pitlane incident
The Dutchman, who took pole for the race having pipped home favourite Lando Norris at the post, was spotted with a damaged front wing in the pitlane during the red flag period in Q1.
It emerged that on exiting his pit garage, Verstappen had not been able to filter out into the fast lane without making contact with the opposite wall and broke off the left-hand side of his front wing.
This prompted blushes as Red Bull wheeled the #1 car back towards the team’s pitbox for a quick nose swap, turning around the damage to get him back out into the queue for the restart.
Recapping a frantic Q1, Verstappen explained that it was very difficult to spot the grippy sections of the circuit – and that his broken front wing occurred as he understeered out of the pit garage.
“On that final lap, um, of course I had my little incident in the pits where, where I destroyed my front wing,” Verstappen said.
“I had a bit of understeer out of the box, ‘too much’ rear grip. I had to take a new front wing, but that meant of course, that I was in the back to start that final run.
“And it was quite exciting. I think that out-lap with passing a few cars here and there to get the lap in. Luckily it was all good enough, but that shows that it can also very quickly fall the other way and you are out.
“When I arrived to Turn 15 the first time I just went straight off, I couldn’t see [the wet parts]. It was very weird because Turn 15 and 16, they were a bit damp and it was very difficult to see where exactly, you could only really feel it.
“That took a bit of time to really get on top of. But in general, I was just trying to get the laps in, we knew that we had a quick car, so you don’t risk it all the way to get through.”
Lando Norris, McLaren, pole man Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, talk after qualifying
Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
Asked if knocking off part of his front wing had shaken his confidence, Verstappen joked that he was scared to leave his garage again before playing down the effect of any consequences.
“I think I’m scared to drive out of my box now,” Verstappen grinned.
“I mean, no, it has nothing to do with confidence. My engineer asked me what happened, I said I understeered, and so yeah, it happens.
“The last time that I hit a wall properly was here a couple years ago, so these things happen. I’ve crashed cars before in the pitlane, but not in F1.”
Verstappen also brushed off another moment during the final phase of Q1, where he encountered Lewis Hamilton in the queue to set their final flying laps and found it difficult to make his way past.
In front of him, Hamilton started to weave across the Wellington Straight, but Verstappen brushed it off and reckoned his own cold tyres and the Mercedes driver’s tyre preparation made the situation look worse than it was in reality.
“It was just on the out-lap. I had very cold tyres because most of the people in front of me had new tyres, but I stayed on my used set.
“I just tried to get by, but of course he was trying to warm the tyres, so it took a bit of time to find a bit of space to go through.”