Max Verstappen says missing a “big piece” of the floor on his Red Bull Formula 1 car cost him a stronger result at the United States Grand Prix.

The Dutchman qualified third on the Austin grid and narrowly missed out on a second-place finish after yellow flags curtailed his late attack on Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, with Verstappen ultimately completing the podium in third spot.

Verstappen, who was pleased with Red Bull’s performance throughout the US Grand Prix weekend, reckons the damage he suffered cost him “a lot of lap time” during the 56-lap race.

“Overall, we had a really good race,” Verstappen explained. “I was just struggling with some weird oversteer in the car.

“Initially, they said it was my front wing, which had a little bit of damage but after the race I looked at the car and I was missing a big piece of my floor in front of the rear tyre, so that definitely cost me a lot of lap time.

“I don’t know when it happened but already quite quickly into the race I had this weird behaviour from the car, which I had not felt before.

“So that’s a bit unfortunate and otherwise I think we could have been stronger. But still, to be on the podium here after a very positive weekend in general I think was a really good achievement for us.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the unfortunate damage helped sway the team’s decision to carry out a two-stop strategy, with Verstappen pitting first out of the top three.

“It was a really strong drive by Max,” Horner added. “He got a good start and then he picked up some front wing damage on the first lap so we elected to go for a two stop strategy versus Lewis’ one stop.

“Max was able to keep Bottas in sight throughout the three stints and closed to within a second of Hamilton towards the end of the race.

“An unlucky yellow flag over the last couple of laps prevented the chance of a Max overtake but nonetheless P3 here in Austin has been the end to a very strong weekend.”