Max Verstappen has reassured Lewis Hamilton that there is no need to look over his shoulder, insisting he has no interest in breaking his Formula 1 records.
With seven World Championships and 103 pole positions and grand prix victories, Hamilton is the most successful driver in F1 history but remains without a win since the penultimate round of the 2021 season.
Hamilton was controversially denied a record-breaking eighth title at that year’s title decider, with Red Bull and Verstappen emerging as the sport’s dominant force since the ground effect rules were introduced in 2022.
Already a two-time World Champion at 25, Verstappen broke the record for the most wins in a single season last year with 15 and, currently holding a 39-point lead over team-mate Sergio Perez, is the overwhelming favourite to make it three in a row in 2023.
Having won 29 of the last 50 races stretching back to the start of his maiden title-winning campaign, Verstappen’s recent success has left some convinced that he will eventually overhaul Hamilton’s numbers.
However, Verstappen has repeatedly claimed that he has no desire to have a long F1 career having made his debut in 2015 at the age of 17.
And, in conversation with Robb Report, the Dutchman is adamant that Hamilton has nothing to worry about.
“No, I don’t think he needs to look over his shoulder,” Verstappen said. “He has achieved so much in the sport.”
Pressed on the matter, Verstappen argued that the success of an individual driver is hugely dependent on the quality of their car with no guarantee that Red Bull’s current success, having won each of the opening six rounds of the 2023 season, will be sustained over the long term.
He explained: “It doesn’t matter.
“I’ve never been interested in breaking records, because these things only happen if you are lucky enough to be in a good car for a long time. Not everyone has that luxury. Luckily, I’ve been in a good car for two years, to win Championships, but it might stop next year. You don’t know.
“So I’m just enjoying the moment. If, after this year, it’s not happening again, that’s what it is.”
Verstappen has previously outlined his ambition to launch a career in endurance racing in the near future, fuelled by a desire to share a car with father Jos, 51, who made 106 F1 starts between 1994 and 2003.
The two-time World Champion says there is nothing to stop him staying in F1 until his late 30s and beyond, but insists he would have no interest.
“I could if I wanted to, but I don’t think I want to stay in the sport for that long,” he added. “I want to do other things.”
Despite his reluctance to remain in F1 for the long haul, Verstappen recently told Spanish publication AS that “it will be very difficult to say goodbye to this sport” if he continues to find himself in a competitive car – but pointed to the factors that could drive him away.
“The time you spend beyond the time you spend in the car,” he said. “You travel a lot, you have a lot of commitments throughout the year and you know where you have to be at all times, when as a driver what I like is to race.
“It’s what I did when I was little, what I’m passionate about, but you know that in F1 everything around it is part of the sport.
“It is the least positive [aspect]. Ideally, I would just drive. But it is not possible.”