Verstappen blames floor damage for low-key performance in Silverstone qualifying

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Championship runaway leader Max Verstappen was unable to fight for the pole position in today's Silverstone qualifying session which the Dutchman explained with the damage that his car suffered in Q1.

Verstappen still managed to put his Red Bull into fourth place despite picking up floor damage following an earlier excursion through the gravel.

The three-time world champion ran through the gravel trap in the first qualifying session when a brief rain shower hit the drying track. Verstappen revealed that Red Bull tried to repair his car, but the team could only make minor tweaks to the damaged floor.

“A mixed Saturday. It was unlucky timing when I came out of turn seven and it started to rain, I tried to slow down in to that corner but the car still snapped on me and I was focused on keeping it out of the wall.

"Going in the gravel ripped up my floor and we had pretty significant damage from there on out. The Team did a great job trying to recover some of the bits and optimise the balance from front to rear, but it majorly affected our qualifying. I was lucky to be in Q3 after that, and in the end to qualify in P4 was a bit of a positive surprise and the best we could do today.

"For the race, first we need a new floor, but I think it will be an exciting race and we will probably be a bit more on the attack trying to move up the grid as McLaren and Mercedes have been really quick in every session and have had a good weekend so far. Tomorrow is a new day, we’ll have to wait and see what the weather will do as well but I’m confident that if we have a clean car we can be in the mix," noted Verstappen.

His team-mate Sergio Perez has been looking more competitive at Silverstone than in previous rounds, but he made a costly mistake in Q1, going off the track at Copse.

The six-time F1 race winner became beached in the gravel, bringing out the red flags in the process. Having been unable to rejoin, the Mexican will line up down in P19 on the grid.

“It was a silly mistake out there, I was one of the first to switch to the slick tyre and we saw a lot of mistakes in the conditions, unfortunately I was the one who got the worst of it.

"I got caught out, I was trying to warm up the tyres and I had a lock up going into turn nine, I went off the track and there was standing water, as I tried to stop the car I lost the rear and went into the gravel. I messed up today and it hurts a lot because to let your Team down that way is not nice, especially as it had been a very solid weekend up to now.

"It’s frustrating because I think we had good pace, we were very strong on Friday and this morning, I was in the rhythm and it’s a shame we didn’t get to show it. It will be hard to recover from the back of the grid but let’s see what we are able to do tomorrow, we must limit the damage and hope things go in our favour."

Speaking of his team's tough day at Silverstone, team boss Christian Horner said: "Unfortunately a rattle through the gravel caused quite a bit of damage to Max’s floor which really impacted performance in the later stages of qualifying.

"The Team did a fantastic job in the garage to turn it around in between sessions to salvage what we could. It was a brilliant lap by Max also. To get on the second row with that amount of damage? We’ll take that.

"It was a tough qualifying for Checo. No one will be more disappointed than he, going out in Q1 like that. It’s obviously not what we can afford at the moment. He will need a big race tomorrow but there is still a lot of opportunity here so he’s not out yet."