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Max Verstappen reveals what he needs to overtake Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher in F1 title race

Max Verstappen admits he needs to be “lucky” to overtake Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher’s F1 title tally of seven.

The Red Bull driver is a three-time world champion, having stormed to the championship in the last two years after his thrilling and controversial inaugural triumph in 2021 in Abu Dhabi.

Verstappen and Red Bull will, undoubtedly, be the favourites when the 2024 Formula 1 season starts on 2 March in Bahrain – but the Dutchman admits that anything that comes his way from this point onwards is a “bonus” given everything he has already achieved.

“It it happens, it happens,” Verstappen said, when asked if he could overtake Hamilton and Schumacher in the all-time leaderboard.

“But you need to be lucky to be in a great car for a longer period of time. You’re very dependent on the material you have.

“When I won my first title, I said, everything that comes next is a bonus because, realistically, in F1, I’ve achieved everything that I wanted to achieve. Being on the podium, having a pole position, winning a championship. These kinds of things were my dream to achieve in Formula 1. From now on, I’m just, yeah, trying to stay on top.”

Verstappen, 26, has a £40m-a-year contract at Red Bull until 2028, which would take him to 14 years in the sport having made his debut in 2015 as a 17-year-old.

Last year particularly, Verstappen was in a league of his own as he won 19 out of 22 races in a Red Bull car streets ahead of its competitors – but he is sceptical that a season of such domination can be repeated.

Max Verstappen is on three F1 world titles - with the record standing at seven (Getty Images)
Max Verstappen is on three F1 world titles - with the record standing at seven (Getty Images)

“It cannot always be like this, I know that,” Verstappen told The Sunday Times.

“The season we’ve had has been probably the best single season performance in F1, in terms of stats and records.

“So I know that it will be very hard to try and do better than that. I think I just have to manage my expectations from now on. That’s just something that you have to keep telling yourself.”

The 2024 F1 season, which will feature a record 24 races, starts on Saturday 2 March with the Bahrain Grand Prix.