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Red Bull have revealed that Max Verstappen, as well as his team-mate Sergio Perez, were both battling with an upset stomach on race day at the United States Grand Prix, as the Dutchman stormed to victory over Lewis Hamilton.
It had been reported across the weekend that Perez was not feeling 100 per cent ahead of the race in Austin, in which Verstappen won and Perez finished third, with motorsport advisor Helmut Marko adding the 24-year-old had been struggling with his own issues too.
“It is unbelievable what mental capacity he still has free. He drives a car at the limit, is in poor health, but also thinks about the strategy,” said Marko, speaking to Auto-motor-und-sport.de.
With temperatures reaching around 30 degrees Celsius in Austin, Perez also had to contend with a broken drinking system in his car, hailing it the “toughest race” of his life.
Marko added: “The performance of both is to be assessed even higher.
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“Max has brought himself back into shape with breathing exercises and drinking.
“Perez ran too much water in the warm-up lap. The stuff splashed around like the devil.
“Then he had to change the balaclava. In the race, he had no water.
“Something apparently went wrong with the adaptation from too much to less water. That was a good achievement. “
Perez added he felt he was in “survival mode” during the race, looking physically drained by the end, despite picking up a podium in the race.
“I wasn’t feeling well this morning, and yeah, from lap one onwards I had no drink at all,” Perez explained after the race.
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“It was extremely tough. Already from lap 20, I was completely gone. I had no strength, I was losing strength on my hands, strength on my feet. The vision as well, it was getting quite uncomfortable.
“It was just survival mode, you know, trying to keep up. It was a time that if I had a bad moment, I wouldn’t be able to control the car.
“It was the longest race of my life, no doubt about that.
“Already from the first stint I was really, really struggling massively to do things properly.
“I was really losing strength. And it was really difficult, especially I think the last 30-40 laps were extremely tough.”
Perez will race in front of his home crowd in a fortnight’s time as Formula One heads to Mexico City on Sunday, November 7.
Speaking ahead of the race, Perez said: “I’m looking so much forward to Mexico.
“Today was just a shame I couldn’t keep up with a Max and Lewis. I was so physically limited today.
“But I look forward to Mexico. I think Mexico should be another good track for us.”
Verstappen now leads the way by 12 points over Mercedes’ Hamilton heading to the Mexican Grand Prix, with just five races remaining of the season.
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