With Red Bull's vehicle in a class of its own around the streets of Monte Carlo, Verstappen had looked set for a thrilling battle with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo for pole position. And from that, a chance to win.
The damage to the right-front corner of the auto was severe and Red Bull had just two hours between the end of final practice and the start of qualifying to try and make the repairs.
Pausing for a moment, Ricciardo grinned and said: "That's a bad question ..." "It's the one that got away and I am still looking for some payback on that".
The impact, littering debris across the track, left the Red Bull mechanics with plenty of work before qualifying and dented Verstappen's hopes of becoming the youngest polesitter.
"In both sessions we were always fighting for the top place, me and Max, so you never know what the others will do, the other two big teams, but today was good".
Verstappen lit up the timesheets with a super-quick lap of the Monte Carlo track, but then ended the one-hour session in the barriers.
But the scarlet cars struggled for pace at the last race in Spain with the German the sole surviving Ferrari finishing off the podium in fourth. They will close that gap, definitely. "And that's my job for Saturday".
Verstappen had been second to Ricciardo in each of the three sessions and his absence opened the door for a non-Red Bull driver to join the Australian on the front row of the grid.
But Hamilton could not improve to the same extent as Vettel and the Ferrari driver posted a time of 1:11.039 to beat his fellow four-time champion to second position. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel holds that record at 21 years and 73 days. Verstappen will not be 21 until September 30 and has a flawless opportunity. "I don't think any of the grid girls in the past were forced to do it, I think they enjoyed what they were doing", Vettel said. You try and drive as many quick laps as possible to build it up a bit for qualifying.
Remarkably, Brazilian Senna's lap in 1988 lifted him 1.4sec clear of his McLaren team-mate Frenchman Alain Prost on a day that has gone down in F1 folklore.
"We are coming here because we want to win, not because we must win", he said. "Let's see what we can do".
Vettel and Hamilton are dueling for a fifth world title this season. In a wet race two years ago, he had a commanding lead but Red Bull failed to have the right tyres ready for him during one of his pit stops and he dropped behind Lewis Hamilton.