Max Verstappen reveals extent of illness in Saudi: 'It felt like I was missing a lung'

Ricciardo tours the Australian outback in the RB7 (1:04)

Daniel Ricciardo drives the 2011 RB7 championship-winning car around the Australian outback. (1:04)

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Max Verstappen said he felt physically limited in the cockpit of his Red Bull Formula One car during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend as he struggled to recover from a virus.

The illness meant the world champion arrived a day late at the event, missing his usual Thursday media commitments before taking part in the opening practice session on Friday.

Despite starting 15th on the grid due to a driveshaft failure in qualifying, he went on to finish the race in second place behind teammate Sergio Perez.

While in Saudi Arabia, Verstappen played down the illness but two weeks later revealed how much he was struggling over the weekend.

"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," he said ahead of this weekend's race in Australia.

"I got to the weekend really believing it [the illness] was gone, because normally when you get sick then two or three days after you're alright 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, which I didn't like because it was one of the first races that I was physically limited, and that's really frustrating when you're in the car."

Verstappen is confident he has made a full recovery ahead of this weekend.

"Since then I've been trying to work on it, trying to improve it, and I do think that it has improved a lot," he added. "So normally this weekend should be alright, 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."