Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has fired a strong warning to Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team that there is still plenty more to come from newly crowned world champion Max Verstappen.
Verstappen picked up his very first Formula One title on Sunday thanks to a dramatic victory at the season finale in Abu Dhabi, however it was a win blighted by controversy.
Despite holding the lead for the majority of the race, Hamilton was pipped by the Dutchman on the very final lap, after some contentious officiating from FIA director Michael Masi brought the once struggling Verstappen back into the race.
Whilst his victory in the Middle East was a controversial one, it is hard to say the 24-year-old’s maiden title is undeserved having picked up the most wins and podiums of any driver this campaign.
The win also brought to an end a four-year period of dominance for Hamilton, who would have secured a fifth successful title, as well as a record eighth if he was to win in Abu Dhabi.
And the Dutchman will not be going anywhere anytime soon, with Red Bull's team advisor Marko confirming there is still much more to come from the world champion.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live , he said: "He is a driver who I'm sure is not at the end of his abilities. We saw his qualifying performance at the last two races, in Jeddah and Abu Dhabi. He did qualifying laps that were so much more than the car could deliver.
"And that's why we believe we haven't seen the climax of Max Verstappen. The more he wins, the more relaxed he gets."
The former Austrian driver first found out about the world champion when he was just 15-years-old in Formula Three, and at that point the 78-year-old knew he had found a star.
He continued: "The first serious discussion I had with him was when he was 15. I saw him in a Formula 3 race, where he was so much better than anybody else.
"It was wet and dry conditions and after this race, which he won by miles, I had a discussion with him for nearly two hours… His determination or his will to win – he knew what he wanted to do.
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"We were talking about the future and so on and after two or three weeks we said, 'Forget all the other junior activities, we go straight into Formula 1.'"
As well as his natural ability to perform on the track, Marko also had praise for his temperament, and the way he conducts himself outside of the car.
"He goes his own way. He doesn't look left and right. He is not worried by all this media stuff and so on,” Marko continued.
“And it's nice to see such a young guy to be so focused on doing an amazing job. Fortunately now it's done with the first world championship. I'm sure it's not the last and we will work hard to go for the next one."
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