Verstappen on Saudi GP illness: ‘I felt like I was missing a lung!’

Max Verstappen has opened up on the bout of illness that hit him ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, admitting that his respiratory capacity was so weak that it felt like he was “missing a lung”.

The Red Bull driver failed to report for duty on media day two weeks ago in Jeddah, having been given an exemption by the FIA that allowed him to remain at home in Monaco and arrive in Saudi Arabia a day later.

Verstappen was up and running on Friday and completed the race weekend normally, but the Dutchman admits that he felt “physically limited” for the duration of the event and arrived in Australia this week still a bit in recovery mode.


“At home I was really ill, like I could barely just walk around and felt like I was just missing a lung,” Verstappen told the media on Thursday in Melbourne.

“I got to the weekend, really believing that it was gone. Because normally when you get sick, like two, three days after you 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.”

    Read also: Horner singles out ‘amazing ability’ enjoyed by Verstappen

Verstappen says he worked on his fitness ahead of his trip down under and reckons he should be fine this weekend.

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“I’ve been trying to work on it, trying to improve it, and I do think that it has improved a lot. So normally this weekend should be alright,” he explained.

“It’s quite a tough track in general and when you don’t feel well, it hits hard on you.”


Formula 1 will enjoy a three-week break after Melbourne thanks to the cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix, and Verstappen says he’ll make the most of the unscheduled break.

“A couple of weeks ago I would say that I was not looking forward to it,” he said. “So for me now this three weeks is just getting back to like full fitness getting a full programme in.

“But normally if I just feel well, I think I would also prefer to keep racing. It has nothing to do with looking into the car trying to make it faster.

“I think that’s a natural process, but it’s weird to have three weeks off, especially that early on in the season.”

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