Christian Horner has revealed that a bizarre incident nearly prevented Max Verstappen from taking Red Bull's 100th Formula 1 victory in the Canadian Grand Prix.
Midway through the race, Verstappen told his engineer over team radio that he had hit a bird, which got lodged in his brake ducts for the remainder of the Grand Prix.
Drivers have been known to retire due to visor tear-offs getting caught in the brake ducts, which in turn causes overheating problems with the brakes.
While it was not drastic enough to warrant an unscheduled pit stop, it was a drama that nearly affected Verstappen's race, according to Horner.
"I think the biggest moment he had was hitting a bird that did half the race behind the front right brake duct," he told media, including RacingNews365.
Onboard footage shows Verstappen hit the bird coming out of Turn 4, with a mechanic later discovering it post-race (see below pic).
"It was still stuck on my car when I came in, it didn't look great!" he told Sky Sports F1.
"I also felt sorry for the mechanic having to remove it."
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Horner: Verstappen managed tough tyre temperatures
Aside from the bird incident, Verstappen could also be heard complaining of having "no grip" after pitting for a set of Hard tyres in the middle stint.
Horner believed the most challenging aspect of the race was generating the tyre temperatures needed on a track that is mostly made up of long straights.
"They struggled to get tyre temperature into the car and to generate the energy [needed] when there's only six corners here and long straights," added Horner.
"To get the heat into the tyre, you could see the the lap times were quite varied for all the drivers at certain points in time where they generate tyre temperature, but he [Verstappen] was able to manage that."