Verstappen reveals impact of illness: ‘I could barely walk’

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Verstappen reveals impact of illness: ‘I could barely walk’

Formula 1

Verstappen reveals impact of illness: ‘I could barely walk’


Max Verstappen was left feeling “like I was missing a lung” by the virus that delayed his arrival to Saudi Arabia and impacted his performance but he expects to be stronger in the Australian Grand Prix.

The championship leader arrived at the track in Jeddah for the first time on the Friday ahead of FP1 due to wanting to take as much time recovering from illness. At the time he stated he was “feeling fine again” but now admits the virus left him much weaker than usual at the previous race and he’s been working hard to strengthen his condition ahead of Melbourne.

“I refused to believe it myself for a long time because at home I was really ill — I could barely walk around and it felt like I was missing a lung,” Verstappen said. “I got to the weekend really believing it was gone, because normally when you get sick then two or three days after you’re all right and you can do your workouts, but then when I jumped in the car in FP1 even just one performance lap I felt like I had to recover for two laps to breathe normally.

“So it definitely did affect me throughout the weekend…it was one of the first races that I was physically limited, and that’s really frustrating when you’re in the car. But since then I’ve been trying to work on it, trying to improve it, and I do think that it has improved a lot.

“I think it was just all coming together in Jeddah — it’s quite a tough track in general, when you don’t feel well it hits hard on you. But these things unfortunately happen, you catch a virus and stuff, so hopefully from now onwards for the rest of the year I should be OK.”

Verstappen admits the setback means he’s actually grateful for the gap in races that follows Australia, with four weeks until the next round in Baku allowing him time to train.

“Well, a couple of weeks ago I would say that I was not looking forward to it, but then I got really ill and have just been struggling a bit since that time, especially the last race out. So for me now these three weeks are just about getting back to full fitness, getting a full program in, so in a way it’s probably nice now.

“Normally I would also prefer to keep racing, yeah. That’s nothing to do with looking into the car, trying to make it faster. I think that’s a natural process, but it’s a bit weird to have three weeks off, especially that early on in the season.”