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Verstappen surprised by fourth after floor damage in qualifying

Max Verstappen was only targeting a spot in the top ten after sustaining heavy damage to his floor in qualifying for the British Grand Prix, so he says he was surprised to secure fourth on the grid.

Red Bull had already seen Sergio Perez slide out of qualifying at Copse in Q1 when Verstappen also ran wide at the same corner when the session resumed, bouncing through the gravel at high speed. While he managed to advance to Q2, he says the damage was significant and took a lot of work from Red Bull to repair it as the session progressed, ultimately helping him to reach Q3 and qualify on the second row.

“From Q1, that off, it was just super unlucky,” Verstappen said. “I came out of [Turn] 7, heading towards Copse, and it started to rain, so I knew that the people in front of me didn’t have that rain patch. They were on slicks, and I knew in Q1 we needed that slick lap in, because you never know if it’s going to rain more and the session is over.

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“I tried to keep the speed up. I did slow down knowing it was raining on my visor, but it still snapped on me. Then I had to keep it out of the wall going off-line, but…had to take the gravel which ripped the floor apart. [I was missing] quite a few bits on the car, even though I do think the team did a great job trying to recover some of the bits and tried optimize the balance front to rear. That basically ruined our qualifying.

“[With the damage that we had, I was happy to be in Q3 already]. To be P4 is probably a bit of a positive surprise.”

Verstappen starts behind an all-British top three at Silverstone on Sunday and admits his task is harder with a pair of quick Mercedes drivers, along with Lando Norris, ahead of him.

“I would like to be in the mix, naturally,” he said. “First of all, I need a new floor! That would help. I hope it can be an exciting race. Now we are probably a bit more on the attack, instead of starting first or second, but that’s fine.

“The people around me, we’re all very even on pace, I guess. I do think McLaren is always very quick in the race and looking after their tires, but I hope we can be in that mix, and make it difficult.

“I’ll do my best tomorrow to have a good fight with them. Today was not our day with Q1 being a bit unlucky. Hopefully…tomorrow we have a good battle, between all the teams. That will be great. Naturally I know the top three, they want to win at home, and hopefully I can make it a bit more difficult.”

Story originally appeared on Racer