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Max Verstappen has rejected claims ‘time is ticking’ when it comes to the Formula 1 star winning his first Drivers’ Championship and remains calm about his chances this season. Mercedes finished the 2020 Constructors’ Championship 254 points ahead of their nearest rivals Verstappen’s Red Bull.
It was the seventh season in succession where they have claimed the crown and they have also won each of the Drivers’ Championship in that time – with Lewis Hamilton securing six of those and Nico Rosberg claiming the 2016 crown.
Verstappen has long been tipped to become champion, having become F1’s youngest ever competitor at just 17 years old and then its youngest ever winner at 18 years and 228 days.
However, Mercedes dominance means Verstappen has had to settle for third in the Drivers’ Standings in the last two seasons.
Hamilton is currently partnered at the Silver Arrows by Valtteri Bottas, who finished nine points above Verstappen to claim second last season.
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Verstappen’s performances in winning two races and consistently finishing on the podium in 2020 had many experts claiming the Dutchman was the ‘best’ driver in F1 at present.
Red Bull are tipped to improve this season following the acquisition of Sergio Perez from Racing Point and the plan to make major aerodynamic changes to their car, the RB16-B.
But with Hamilton’s winning margin of 124 points being the largest in the hybrid era, time will tell whether Red Bull will be able to make the sufficient changes to close the gap for the 2021 season.
“Of course I would like to fight for the championship [in 2021], but we’ll have to find out,” Verstappen told Motorsport.com.
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“I mean, I’m still very young. And of course, you know, people say time is ticking. But I’m very relaxed. And it’s life.
“Also, you know, sometimes you cannot force things. So I stay calm.”
He added: “I do think we can make a big step,” he said. “But I also expect others to have a step. So I just hope that ours is a bit bigger than the others.”
Red Bull are confident they have got to the bottom of the problems with the RB16 car, which contributed to the big gap between their drivers and Mercedes’ duo.
Last week Verstappen’s father Jos – himself an F1 driver of many years – admitted he would love to see his son race in the same team as Hamilton so fans could finally see who the best truly was on a level playing field.
And Jos Verstappen is in no doubt his son is ready to compete for the Drivers’ Championship once he has a car capable of doing so.
He said: “He was [ready] three years ago. You know, Max always drives at 110 percent. As a result, we don’t really know how good or bad the car is; maybe our car was worse than Ferrari’s… It’s just possible, no one knows.
“The only thing you can do is compare Max to his team-mate. And [Alexander] Albon really wasn’t that bad in karting and the lower classes, he did well there. This year he had quite a problem compared to Max.”
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