Two weeks before the Jeddah weekend, Max Verstappen returned to the difficulties that preceded and conditioned his trip to Saudi Arabia. After missing the press conference on Thursday (having postponed his arrival in Jeddah), Verstappen started activity on the track immediately accusing problems with tiredness, which he deliberately masked for the entire weekend.
“The week before the Grand Prix I was really sick – confessed Max – I could barely walk and it seemed like I was missing a lung. Then the conditions improved and when I arrived in Jeddah I felt good, I thought everything was fine. But when I got into the car in FP1 after a flying lap I realized that I needed two laps at low pace to breathe normally again. And so it was for the rest of the weekend, and it was the first time I’ve been in a race weekend limited by physical conditions, it’s frustrating when you’re in the car. Now I think everything is fine, but unfortunately these things happen, you catch a virus and you run these risks, but I’m optimistic about this weekend.”
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Verstappen doesn’t have a great history in Melbourne. Only once, in 2019, did he manage to get on the Albert Park podium behind Bottas and Hamilton. “In recent years we’ve never had great starts to the season – explained Max – probably if we had stopped in Melbourne in the second half of the championship we would have had better results, but for sure this year I need to bring home a good result. Obviously I know we have a good chance, but we have to work well throughout the weekend.”
Max then spoke of the possibility that Alonso could soon return to victory, which for Fernando would be success number 33, a number that remains Verstappen’s favorite even if temporarily shelved to ‘wear’ the world champion’s number 1. “Fernando should have won a lot more races than he has – he commented – I think he deserves a lot more than he got and… yes, I’d be quite happy to see him win his race number 33, and in a way I’d like to see him win even more”.
Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing during the press conference
Photo by: Motorsport Images
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