The erstwhile championship leader was taken out of contention at the start when Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas triggered a multi-car shunt at the first corner, with Verstappen and Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez both collected in the mayhem.

While Perez was eliminated on the spot, Verstappen was able to continue despite suffering extensive damage to the floor and bargeboard area on his Red Bull.

Verstappen ultimately recovered to salvage 10th place - which turned into ninth following Sebastian Vettel’s disqualification for a fuel infringement.

“Let’s just say I should think Mick Schumacher had more downforce than Max,” replied Horner when asked how much downforce Verstappen had lost.

“He drove his heart out, earned one point, that could be crucial at the end of the year. Mechanics lowered the pit stop time too, so we keep fighting.

“Thankfully Mercedes made a howler strategically, Fernando Alonso looked like he was driving for Red Bull as well, so the damage was limited compared to what it could have been.”

Horner paid credit to Red Bull's mechanics for their “incredible” repair job to fix some of the damage on Verstappen’s car during the early red flag period.

“I have to say the mechanics worked wonders getting that car working again,” added Horner. “Just getting some of the pipes straightened on it was an incredible response. But hugely frustrating obviously.”

Verstappen said the level of damage made his RB16B “almost impossible to drive”.

“Valtteri just completely missed his braking point and caused a big crash,” he explained. “From then on, I was missing the whole side of my car and the whole barge board area. It was all gone.

“The floor was damaged as well so it was almost impossible to drive to be honest. I still tried my very best and I scored one point, so it’s at least something, but it’s of course not what we want.”