Max Verstappen revelation explains why he couldn’t match Sergio Perez

Max Verstappen was struck down by an illness in the run up to the race, forcing him to miss media duties on the Thursday.

Max Verstappen has revealed the extent of his illness before the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, which left him barely able to walk.

“I refused to believe it myself for a long time. At home I was really ill, I could barely just walk around. I felt like I was missing a lung,” he told Sky Sports F1.

“I got to the weekend really believing [the illness] was gone, because normally when you get sick, two or three days afterwards you’re alright, you can just do your work.

“It definitely did affect me throughout the weekend, which I didn’t like. It was one of the first races where I felt I was physically limited, and that’s really frustrating when you’re in the car.”

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Despite the limitations caused by his illness, Verstappen managed an impressive performance in Jeddah, making his way through the field from 15th to second.

Verstappen even managed to scoop the fastest lap point as he crossed the chequered flag, ensuring that he maintained the lead in the Drivers’ Standings. 

The two-time world champion will be hoping for a better shot at victory in Australia after a driveshaft issue forced him out of qualifying in Saudi Arabia. 

With a long break between the Australian Grand Prix this weekend and the Azerbaijan race on 30th April, Verstappen will be hoping he can have a chance to rest and fully recover.

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“For me now, this three weeks is just for getting back to full fitness and getting a full [training] programme in,” he said.

The long gap between races has been caused by the cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix, which has been on hold since the Covid pandemic.

Formula One bosses had considered filling the Chinese GP with an alternative to ensure a record 24 races were on the calendar but ultimately opted against it.