Rare off-camera moment involving Max Verstappen shared by FIA press conference host

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull's Max Verstappen puts his hands to his face.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Formula 1 press conference host Tom Clarkson witnessed Max Verstappen enter the room “holding his left shoulder” as he later complained about the Imola bumps, something Clarkson has “never” heard from him in F1’s ground effect era.

Verstappen was able to claim a fifth win of the season at Imola, though he was forced to work extremely hard for it, having battled back from an underwhelming run through the practice sessions to claim pole, before holding off McLaren’s Lando Norris on Grand Prix Sunday to secure the victory.

Max Verstappen hurting from the Imola bumps

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Verstappen and Norris were joined by P3 finisher Charles Leclerc as the trio headed for the post-race press conference, hosted by Clarkson, who noticed that Verstappen was favouring his left shoulder as he arrived.

During the press conference, Verstappen did complain about the toll that the track had taken on him, a surprise considering that Red Bull are the team which best mastered the ground effect cars to avoid the bumpy rides at times seen elsewhere on the grid.

However, he presented a possible alternate theory for Verstappen feeling worse for wear, that being his participation in the Nurburgring 24 Hours sim race during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix race weekend.

Speaking on the F1 Nation podcast, Clarkson – in response to Fox Sport Mexico’s Diego Mejia mentioning the bumpy nature of F1’s next track, Monaco – said: “Now it’s interesting you mentioned the bumps, because just before we heard from Max Verstappen in the press conference, he came into the room and he was holding his left shoulder.

“And he was saying that it was the bumps, he was really feeling the bumps. I’ve never heard him complain of bumps in any Red Bull of this regulation. So it was interesting that he was feeling it here.

“It is a bumpy track. We hear the drivers talking about that. But it makes me wonder what sort of setup they had on the car here for him to be feeling quite so beaten up.

“Now, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here because Max Verstappen was doing two races this weekend. The real one, in the real world that we had here at Imola, but he was also competing for his sim racing team, Team Redline, in the Nurburgring 24 Hours sim race, which he won.

“But he did do a four-hour stint last night. He then did another two hours from 0830 to 1030 on race morning. Did that in any way have a negative effect on what he was trying to do here in Formula 1?”

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Verstappen was very much blaming the Imola bumps, which had left him “broken”.

“I’m just broken from the bumps, to be honest,” he told media including PlanetF1.com’s Thomas Maher. “My back, everything is hurting.

“It’s not so much from the physical side of things, but just it was so bumpy out there. Already after like 20 laps, I could really feel my back. So I’m just looking forward to laying in bed. Maybe take some painkillers. And a massage, I don’t know.”

This latest triumph marked Verstappen’s third win on the trot at Imola.

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