Red Bull adviser Dr Helmut Marko has revealed that Max Verstappen “asked” to extend his Red Bull deal through to the end of the 2020 season.
Ahead of FP1 in Austin on Friday, Red Bull announced Verstappen will be staying put for another three years at least, cooling speculation on a potential move to either Mercedes or Ferrari.
But rather than Red Bull pushing to get the deal done, Marko claims it was the Dutchman that wanted to secure his future with the team.
“Max and Ricciardo could have been free after 2018,” Marko said via Sky F1.
“We tried to secure at least one driver and Max asked if he could make a deal until 2020.
“Ricciardo was putting himself on the market but now we are talking with him.
“It shows how much Max trusts us.”
Verstappen, who was second fastest in FP2, reflected on the news of his contract extension and believes the duo can continue to grow together.
“We had our difficult moments this year but we definitely improved,” Verstappen told Sky F1 back in the paddock after FP2.
“Maybe it was good to have those moments and I think you learn a lot from them. Hopefully for next year and the years on from there we can be stronger.
“I believe in the team. We will see what happens.”