Verstappen overtook pole-sitter Carlos Sainz on Lap 12 after the Spaniard went off the track on the exit of Becketts. 

Just two laps later, Verstappen was forced into the pit lane due to a suspected puncture.

A change of tyres didn’t fix the issue as it was confirmed that Verstappen had sustained floor damage and lost a significant amount of downforce.

Despite lacking pace in the closing laps, Verstappen held on to finish seventh.

Speaking after the race, Verstappen said: “I got into the lead and, a few corners later, there was debris on the racing line. I could not turn so I tried to hit on head-on. It went into my floor and destroyed my left-hand side. I felt like the car was falling apart and I thought I had a puncture which was not the case.

“The car was a handful to drive. To finish seventh with that car is still a good result. It’s better than zero points, that’s for sure.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner hailed Vertstappen for fighting “like a lion” as the six points he gained from finishing sixth at Silverstone could be crucial at the end of the season in terms of the title race.

“His first start was so good, Horner added. “He had great pace, was able to get the lead, and build the lead. Max hit some debris which did a huge amount of damage to the underside of his car. He lost probably half of his downforce from the floor. The damage got worse. Then we went onto the hard tyres which made it harder for him. 

“By that time, we were fighting against Aston Martin and Haas to try and pick up points, and to limit the damage. 

“Then the Safety Car. We put a set of softs on. He fought like a lion. I’ve never known him to fight so hard for seventh but that could make difference at the end of the championship.”

Perez’s sensational comeback

On the other side of the Red Bull garage, Sergio Perez recovered from the back of the grid to finish on the podium at Silverstone for the first time.

Perez had contact with Leclerc after the red flag, forcing him into the pits on Lap 5 for a new front wing.

The Mexican was on course to finish fourth but the late Safety Car period caused by Esteban Ocon gave him a shot at the podium.

"Yes, it was a great comeback," Perez added. "We didn't give up and we kept pushing. Then the opportunity came at the end, and we just went for it.

"It was a great fight with Charles, and with Lewis I felt like I had the position, and then he was right there. It was just epic, the final laps, but it was a good fight between us."