Sergio Perez endured the “toughest” race of his career after finishing third in the US Grand Prix without drinking any water.
The Red Bull star pulled off a spectacular drive in a gruelling Formula 1 test after his water bottle device in his car leaked inside his race suit.
The problem led to Perez admitting he felt physically weak during Sunday’s race.
“I struggled massively,” Perez said after the race. “Since Lap 1, I ran out of water, I couldn’t drink at all.
“I think by the middle of the second stint it was starting to get pretty difficult, losing strength. I think my toughest ever physically.”
But third place was welcomed with a large cheer due to the sizeable Mexican contingent in attendance at the Circuit of the Americas.
“Checo drove another strong race today,” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said. “It wasn’t great for him as he was struggling with a stomach bug for most of the weekend. Not great to lose the fluid on a day like this today.”
Horner added that he felt “stress” from Mick Schumacher holding up Verstappen as his victory hung in the balance.
“It’s very difficult to factor into your strategy the backmarkers,” Horner added. “We lost a lot of time behind Yuki [Tsunoda] and then Mick Schumacher was quite costly on the last couple of laps.
“I thought that was going to cost us the victory because he held Max through the whole sector. But thankfully we did pick up the DRS on the start/finish straight, which at least gave Max a little bit of breathing room into turn one. But it certainly added to the stress on the pit wall.”
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