Horner: Verstappen had a drive shaft issue in FP2

Horner IMOLA, ITALY - APRIL 16: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing RB16B Honda on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari on April 16, 2021 in Imola, Italy. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202104160167 // Usage for editorial use only //

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has revealed that Max Verstappen suffered a drive shaft failure during FP2 at Imola, causing him to miss the bulk of the session.

Verstappen’s RB16B stopped out on track after just five laps during afternoon practice, with the team unable to recover in time for the Dutchman to get any further running under his belt.

After finishing second at the Bahrain Grand Prix last month, it looked tight at the top once again after FP1, but it now appears to be advantage Mercedes given the loss of track time suffered by Red Bull and Verstappen.

“It looks like the drive shaft has given way unfortunately,” Horner told Sky Sports F1. “So, we are just trying to understand what has caused that and why it happened.

“Unfortunately, the car went around a trip of Imola town after they collected it and we could get it back in the pits.

“It was on the Friday gearbox, but we will be inspecting all the other parts in time for tomorrow. The kerbs are very aggressive here.”

The teams will be back out on track at 11:00 CET tomorrow for FP3, ahead of an earlier than usual qualifying at 14:00 CET.