Polesitter Lewis Hamilton held onto his lead at the start but there was carnage behind after Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas got an awful getaway and dropped down the order. The Finn got his braking all wrong into Turn 1 and rear-ended Lando Norris’ McLaren.

Norris’ car then slammed into Verstappen, who was able to continue but suffered damage to the floor and bargeboards of his Red Bull.

Sergio Perez was also caught up in the collision and was forced to retire, along with Bottas, Norris, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll, all of whom were involved in the melee at Turn 1.

The race is currently under red flag conditions while significant debris is cleared away by the marshals.

At the time the red flag was deployed, Hamilton was leading from Esteban Ocon, Sebastian Vettel, Carlos Sainz, Yuki Tsunoda, Nicholas Latifi, Fernando Alonso, George Russell, Kimi Raikkonen and Mick Schumacher.

Verstappen had dropped to 13th after making a pit stop. Crucially for the world championship leader, Red Bull will be able to work on his car to fix the damage during the suspension.