Max Verstappen believes it is too early to rule out a possible challenge for the championship in the wake of his first victory of the season in Austria last weekend.
The Dutchman made a cheeky first lap move on Kimi Raikkonen before capitalising on retirements for both Mercedes drivers to secure his fourth career win and also complete a run in the last three races that has seen him finish third, second and first.
Max has also scored the most points of any driver in the post three races with 58, something that has seen him climb upto fifth in the Drivers' standings just three points behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo albeit still 53 adrift of leader Sebastian Vettel.
“It’s a good run we are having now but we still need a bit more engine power and then we can definitely be in the mix,” he told Sky Sports.
“We never give up [on the championship] like I said."
His Red Bull team boss Christian Horner also still sees some hope that the admittedly large gap can be closed.
“I think we see ourselves very much as outsiders,” the Briton told ESPN. “We discussed it with Renault obviously, and there will be no nicer way of them to sign off this partnership than with an engine that hopefully produces some more wins and who knows what else.
“I think what’s concerning for us, Mercedes and Ferrari recently look like they’ve made a good step as well. Of course, nothing in F1 stands still.
“Hopefully there’ll be small incremental gains over coming races because if we can do a better job on Saturdays, we have the pace in the race on Sundays."
Meanwhile, Jos Verstappen, father to the 20-year-old and a former F1 driver himself, used the win to hit back at those that were critical of his son during the incidents which plagued his first third of the year.
“People should never again put a question mark on Max’s so-called aggressive driving style,” he told Dutch publication Formule 1.
“Max knows what he is doing. He has to fine-tune some small things and he understands that himself, but by gaining experience he gets better and better.”
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