The Dutchman had shadowed eventual race winner Lewis Hamilton for much of the Red Bull Ring race, but fell away in the closing stages after he picked up damage when he ran over a kerb.
Red Bull was made aware instantly about the impact the front wing damage had on his performance, but it was only afterwards that it emerged the part had fouled up the critical bargeboard area too.
The front wing damage, allied to the bargeboard interference, plus loose elements on the rear wing, meant Verstappen eventually fell back into the clutches of Valtteri Bottas and finished third.
Speaking after the race, Red Bull’s chief engineer Paul Monaghan explained the extent of the problems that Verstappen was having to contend with.
“We’ve hit one of the yellow things and it’s just taken the bottom of the endplate off,” he said. “It’s then become wedged in the bargeboard. That hasn’t done any favours either.
“So not only have we got bits of stuff hanging out of the bottom of the front wing endplate on track, we’ve now got a bargeboard with a dirty bit of footplate in it from the front wing.
“And we’ve incurred a little bit of damage on the rear wing. I suspect some pieces have vibrated and detached. So the condition in which we released the car into the race has not matched the condition in which we’ve received the car back post race.”
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Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said the team instantly saw on its data that Verstappen lost performance when he ran over the kerb, but it could not be sure of the exact time loss. However it suspects that the balance shift did have an impact on tyre life.
“It was on the kerbs here, on the exit of Turn Nine,” he said. “The guys in the operations room immediately saw the loss of downforce.
“We couldn’t see how much damage it had done until the car came into parc ferme at the end of the race there. So, it was a significant shift, but what effect that had on tyre life we need to look closely at the data to understand.”
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