Verstappen lost control of his Red Bull RB18 into Turn 4 on Lap 9 while running in second behind title rival Charles Leclerc.

The Dutchman’s mistake came just two laps after Carlos Sainz went off into the gravel trap at the same corner.

Once recovering from his mistake, race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase told Verstappen: “There was a large gust at the entry of Turn 4 there, Max”.

Memorably, Nico Rosberg lost the lead of the United States Grand Prix in 2015 - and ultimately the title to Lewis Hamilton - due to an off in the final sector of the track, with the German also blaming a gust of wind. 

Explaining his mistake in more detail, Verstappen said in the post-race press conference: “Yeah, a bit of a race with two halves, because the first 30 laps were very frustrating for me, after I went off in Turn 4 first of all, which really caught me by surprise because I didn't feel like I was actually braking later or throwing more speed into the corner. 

“But it was very gusty out there today. Like, one lap it felt all stable and then the next lap suddenly you could have more oversteer in places. So probably that caught me out, by surprise. So that was not ideal, of course.”

Sainz’s mistake proved to be more costly as he pirouetted into the Turn 4 gravel on Lap 7, damaging the underbody of his Ferrari.

The Spaniard still managed to recover to finish fourth after Lewis Hamilton encountered reliability gremlins and Alfa Romeo’s two-stop strategy with Valtteri Bottas didn’t work out.

“A long tough race for us,” Sainz added. “I mean after the gust of wind and the spin I tried to recover but the car wasn’t the same after that, I picked up a lot of damage and I was sliding all around trying to get back into the podium but in the end fourth, not what I wanted. 

“Clearly, struggling the whole race but it’s how it goes sometimes.”

Losing DRS was “extremely painful”

Despite his mistake, Verstappen went on to take his third consecutive victory to move into the lead in the drivers’ championship.

It’s the first time Verstappen has led the standings this season after his opening three races were impacted by poor reliability. 

A technical issue with the DRS made Verstappen’s life in Barcelona even harder as a malfunctioning rear wing meant he wasn’t able to activate the DRS and thus was stuck behind Mercedes’ George Russell.

As a result, Red Bull converted Verstappen to a three-stop strategy which ultimately paid off as he took the victory ahead of teammate Sergio Perez.

“I dropped back behind George and Checo,” Verstappen explained. “Checo was so kind to let me by to try to attack George because I think already we were planning to do two different strategies as a team, at the time. But then as soon as I was attacking George, my DRS stopped working all the time on the main straight. 

“So that was extremely painful. Like, sometimes it would open, like, almost halfway on the straight or not at all. So yeah, that made me stuck behind George for 20 laps solid. So it was a tough one.”

In a bid to get his rear wing working again, Verstappen revealed he was forced to ‘spam’ the DRS activation button on his steering wheel “like 50 times”.

“I could have shouted back on the radio something, but there is nothing you can do because I mean, I'm not stupid, once you get the light and the activation beep, then you press the paddle,” he said. “If it doesn't open, there's clearly an issue. I've spammed it like 50 times at one point on the straight and it's just not opening, so there was clearly an issue.

“I mean, I tried all different kinds of things, stay off the kerb, on the kerb, open it a tiny bit later but it was just broken – or like malfunctioning. So yeah, we clearly have an issue there on this wing.”