Max Verstappen has revealed that he was struggling with an illness throughout the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP.
The Dutchman managed to cut through the pack from 15th to finish second behind teammate Sergio Perez in Jeddah, taking the extra point for fastest lap on the final lap of the race.
That result left the reigning champion at the top of the Drivers’ Championship standings, but speaking to media ahead of the Australian GP, Verstappen revealed that he had been suffering with an illness during the weekend that left him struggling for breath.
“I refused to believe it myself for a long time. Because at home I was really ill like I could barely just walk around and felt like I was just missing a lot. And, I got to the weekend, really believing that it was gone,” Verstappen told the press ahead of the 2023 Australian GP.
“Because normally when you get sick, like two, three days after you’re normally alright, you could just do your workouts, but then when I jumped in the car in FP1, even just one performance, I felt like I had to recover for two laps to be able to breathe normally.
“So yeah, it definitely did affect me throughout the weekend, which I didn’t like because it was one of the first reasons where I just felt like, I was physically limited. And that’s really frustrating when you’re out in the car.”
Ready for Australia
However, Verstappen added that he had improved sufficiently ahead of the race in Melbourne that the virus shouldn’t be an issue.
“But yeah, since then, I’ve been trying to work on it, try to improve it. And I do think that it has improved a lot,” Verstappen said.
“So normally this weekend should be alright. I think it was just all, you know, coming together in Jeddah. It’s quite a tough track in general, and when you don’t feel well it hits hard on you.
“But yeah, these things unfortunately happen. You get your virus and stuff. So hopefully, from now on. For the rest of the year. I should be okay.”