Christian Horner has admitted after the 2016 Belgium Grand Prix that Max Verstappen’s Turn 1 contact with the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen cost the Red Bull driver an estimated “second and a half per lap.”
After a poor get away from his P2 grid slot, Verstappen attempted to dive up the inside of Kimi Raikkonen at the first corner, La Source. But Sebastian Vettel had other ideas as he attempted to go around the outside of both drivers. Unfortunately, he didn’t give them enough room and all three drivers were squeezed together, with Raikkonen making contact with Verstappen’s car while Vettel was spun around and left stranded.
“He was squeezed from the outside by Sebastian and three into one quite simply doesn’t go,” said Horner after the race.
“The resulting damage significantly compromised the aerodynamics on the underside of the car costing [Verstappen] about a second and a half.”
Verstappen shared similar feelings with his Team Boss saying post-race: “I got up the inside for the first corner then got squeezed by the two Ferraris.”
“In the contact my front wing and the floor got destroyed so then the car was very difficult to drive and the race was gone.”
However, the Verstappen/Raikkonen rivalry wasn’t over as they restarted their battle on laps 12 and 13. Verstappen’s defensive manoeuvres were again under fire as he questionably pushed Raikkonen off the track when he defended the inside line at Les Combes. Raikkonen would stay ahead but gave the place back.
The following lap, with Raikkonen gaining on Verstappen down the Kemmel Straight, the former would dart for the inside line before Verstappen moved as late as he possibly could to defend the line. Raikkonen took sudden avoiding action to stop an accident. He clearly wasn’t impressed as the Fin took to the radio to voice his frustrations in a profane manner. Verstappen would finish the race in 11th whilst Raikkonen would further recover to 9th.
Verstappen will be disappointed as Belgium is the closest thing he has to a home race. He’ll return in a weeks time for the historic Italian Grand Prix at the Temple of Speed, Monza.