Max Verstappen lost around one-tenth of car performance after sustaining damage to the floor in Q1 during Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying, according to Red Bull boss Christian Horner.
Verstappen ran hard over the kerbs at the exit of Turn 2 in the early stage of the session, radioing to his team to evaluate the extent of the damage.
It proved a minor setback for the Dutchman who went on to secure the first pole position of the 2021 Formula 1 season, lapping almost four-tenths quicker than nearest challenger Lewis Hamilton.
When asked about the incident, Verstappen said, as quoted by Motorsport.com: “I ran a bit wide – I think there was a little bit of damage, but it was still fine.”
But speaking to Sky Sports F1, Horner revealed Verstappen had suffered enough damage to lose him time over a lap of the Bahrain International Circuit.
“He smacked the bottom of the car pretty hard, because they run so low, that we’ve lost a couple of bits of carbon under the front of the car there,” Horner said.
“Maybe he was carrying about a tenth’s worth of damage through the rest of the sessions.”
Verstappen’s pole was the first time a car other than a Mercedes claimed honours in the first qualifying session of the year in the hybrid era.
The result bodes well for Red Bull who in recent years has traditionally began the season on the back foot, leading to an aggressive development path to make up the deficit.
Verstappen acknowledged the team’s trend had been broken, calling it a “great start” to the campaign.
“That’s what you always aim for, right?” Verstappen said “Of course the last few years it hasn’t really materialised.
“But in a way the regulations haven’t really changed a lot and I think we knew what our weaknesses were last year. And it seems like we addressed them so far at the beginning of the year.
“Of course [I’m] very happy with that. Great start for us but of course no guarantees for the future.”