Sergio Perez thought he was "the stupidest guy on earth" after contracting Covid-19 last season.
Perez, who has made the switch to Red Bull for the upcoming season, missed the Silverstone double-header last year after testing positive for the virus, becoming the first Formula 1 driver to do so.
Despite a successful season that brought his first career victory, Perez said the stress of contracting the virus at the same time that his contract talks with Racing Point were ongoing meant the year was actually more difficult than results suggested.
"I certainly had a very tough year I'd say because of the corona, being the first driver to get the virus," he explained.
"It's a bit more normal now you get it, but at the time it was like 'You are the most stupid guy on earth because you got the virus'. It was very harsh for me to deal with it.
"It was a very critical time as well in my career because of the contract thing. In the end, I lost my seat with the team but it worked out really well.
"I never knew what was going to happen. When that happened I was pretty relaxed."
At one stage last year it did seem that Perez would be without a seat for the upcoming season despite finishing fourth in the standings.
After being given a new lease of life with Red Bull, the Mexican believes he is prepared to ensure results come his way.
"I thought 'I've had a tremendous career already. I'm pleased with myself, but I just have to give it my all weekend after weekend and see what happens'," added Perez.
"When the Red Bull opportunity opened up, it was sometimes looking better, sometimes looking worse, but then, in the end, it worked out.
"These opportunities only come once in your life. I know that and I'm ready to make it work."
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