At COTA, Verstappen, like Perez, was in “poor health”

In the United States Grand Prix, Sergio Perez was not the only Red Bull driver who was under the weather – Max Verstappen was as well.

After finishing third at the Circuit of the Americas, the Mexican driver revealed that he had been struggling physically during the race.

“You have no idea how hard it was for me,” said Perez over team radio immediately after crossing the line. “I had no drink the whole race.”

Later, he described it as “physically my toughest race ever,” adding, “It was a bad one.” For some reason, I began experiencing diarrhoea early in the morning.

“I was really losing strength and it was really difficult. I think the last 30 or 40 laps were really tough.”

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Now it’s been revealed that his teammate Verstappen wasn’t recovered fully, despite his brilliant drive to hold off a late challenge from Lewis Hamilton and extend his World Championship lead to 12 points.

Red Bull driver boss Helmut Marko said: “He went completely black in the eyes at one point.”

Marko spoke about the day Verstappen got on the team radio and urged them to pit Perez against Hamilton in order to compromise him: “It’s incredible how much mental capacity he still has. He drives a car at the limit, is in poor health but also still thinks about strategy.”

As a result, the 78-year-old Austrian believes both drivers deserve extra credit for their effort in Austin, claiming that Verstappen “got himself back in shape with breathing exercises and drinking.”

Marko added: “The performance of both of them is all the more remarkable.

“Perez had too much water on the installation lap. The stuff splashed around like the devil. Then he had to change his balaclava.

“In the race he had no water. Something apparently went wrong in the adaptation from too much to less water. It was a good performance.”

Perez had to take his hands off the steering wheel on the straights in order to rest his fingers, according to Auto Motor und Sport.

In addition to extending Verstappen’s lead in the Drivers’ standings, the one-three finish allowed Red Bull to narrow the gap on Mercedes in the Constructors’ standings to 23 points with five races remaining in the season.

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