May 27, 2024

Max Verstappen has emphasized that Mercedes, led by Lewis Hamilton, will be among Red Bull’s primary competitors in the upcoming season. Despite Hamilton’s dominant performance in the current F1 season, Verstappen anticipates a more closely contested battle in the coming year.

Verstappen’s 2023 season marked his most successful to date, securing an impressive 19 victories and 21 podium finishes. His remarkable on-track performance accumulated 575 points, establishing a significant 290-point lead over his Red Bull teammate, Sergio Perez.

Max Verstappen sends obvious message to Lewis Hamilton over F1 title battle  | F1 | Sport | Express.co.uk

Surpassing his previous record of 15 wins in the previous season, Verstappen’s points achievement far exceeds Sebastian Vettel’s 2013 lead of 155 points. Securing his third consecutive win, the 26-year-old driver appears to be continuously strengthening his position and poised to outperform his competitors in the years ahead. However, Verstappen has surprisingly indicated potential challenges in the upcoming season due to the increased competitiveness of Red Bull’s rivals.

Verstappen acknowledged the difficulty of replicating the same level of success, stating, “Running the same season will be almost impossible.” While expressing the intention to further develop their car, he acknowledged that other teams have learned from Red Bull’s strategies, anticipating heightened competition.

Expressing caution, Verstappen identified Mercedes as a formidable opponent for the next season. He also highlighted threats from two additional teams expected to disrupt the established order. Reflecting on the variability seen in the final races of the season, he emphasized the likelihood of a closer competition, citing examples of different teams performing well each weekend.

Despite the anticipated challenges, Verstappen remains eager for another successful year, buoyed by substantial bonus payments for clinching the world champion title. Following the conclusion of the final race, reports indicated that the F1 star earned an extraordinary $70 million (£55m), comprising a base salary of $45 million (£35m) and a bonus of $25 million (£19m).

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