SILVERSTONE, England — Damage sustained during a trip through the gravel in the first part of qualifying for the British Grand Prix cost Max Verstappen a shot at pole position, the three-time world champion said after the session.

The Red Bull driver ran wide at Copse on his first flying lap after switching to slick tyres in Q1, sliding through the gravel but keeping his car out of the barriers.

He recovered to make it through to Q3 and take fourth on the grid behind Lando Norris, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, but blamed floor damage for his car’s loss in performance.

“It was just super unlucky,” he said. “I came out of Turn Seven, heading towards Copse, and it started to rain, so I knew that the people in front of me didn’t have that rain patch, and of course they were also 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.

“Naturally of course I tried to keep the speed up. I did slow down knowing it was raining on my visor, but it still snapped on me, and then I had to keep it out of the wall going off-line.

“But then I had to take the gravel which ripped the floor apart, missed 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 optimise the balance front to rear.

“But yeah, it was, that basically ruined our qualifying. I was happy to be in Q3 already with the damage that we had. And to be P4 is probably a bit of a positive surprise.”

Verstappen said his Red Bull team tried to fix the car between runs, but that resulted in the handling changing from lap to lap.

“They kept on repairing the floor, so my balance was shifting every lap. And then I was changing things on my wheel every lap to try and find a better compromise, so probably some bits we tipped it over the edge to try and compensate.

“The floor had a lot of holes in it, so you always try to patch that up.

“A few bits were missing or flapping, so you of course want to get rid of that or at least try to piece, put a few pieces together, and try and make it work.

“Basically what they did, they cut a few bits off that were hanging loose, so you try to just optimise the losses, let’s say it like that.”

Engineers measure the amount of downforce a car has via a points system, albeit on a scale that varies slightly from team to team.

Asked how many points of downforce the damage had cost him, Verstappen said: “Initially it was 100, which is a lot. A lot!

“We got it down a little bit. But it’s still a lot.”