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I will win again: Verstappen suffers health scare as Hamilton clarifies Mercedes criticism

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Max Verstappen has reassured fans that he will compete in this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after overcoming an illness.

Verstappen leads the F1 drivers’ standings after dominating the opening race of the 2023 season in Bahrain.

But this early lead was put in jeopardy ahead of the upcoming Jeddah weekend as the Dutchman suffered from poor health, something that meant he was forced to postpone his travel plans.

Providing an update on social media, however, Verstappen told fans on Thursday morning: “(I’m) feeling fine again, after not being fit for a few days with a stomach bug.

“Therefore, I, unfortunately, had to postpone my flight for a day, so I won’t be on the track until Friday.

“See you in Jeddah!”
Verstappen had not been scheduled to take part in either of the two FIA press conferences on Thursday in Saudi Arabia, but his disrupted travel means that he will not be on-site to face the media in Red Bull’s regular pre-event press briefing.

First practice for the weekend will get underway on Friday at 16:30 local time, 13:30GMT.

Lewis Hamilton has conceded that suggesting Mercedes had failed to listen to him last year “probably wasn’t the best choice of words”.

The seven-time champion cut a disgruntled figure after finishing fifth at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, suggesting that the team had failed to heed his advice on development routes during last year’s turmoil – where the Silver Arrows scored only one race win.

The apparent unrest triggered suggestions Hamilton could seek a move elsewhere in his quest for a record-breaking eighth world championship, but he has moved to close those rumours down.

“In hindsight, looking back, it probably wasn’t the best choice of words,” said Hamilton.

“But no, there are of course times where you are not in agreement with certain team members but what’s important is that we continue to communicate, we continue to pull together.

“I still have 100 per cent belief in this team, it is my family and I have been here a long time so I don’t plan on going anywhere else.
“But we all need a kick, we all need to get on.

The proof is in the pudding, we have seen where the performance is and how people are extracting the performance and we have got to now start making some bold decisions, some big moves in order to close the gap to these guys.”

Ferrari only challenger for Red Bull
“They [Red Bull] will run away with it most likely this year unless Ferrari stops them,” added Hamilton.

We will wait and see, but hopefully at some point during this year, we are hopeful we can close the gap but by that point, it will probably be too late to fight for a championship

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