Max Verstappen “you can’t ignore me” response to Mercedes interest

Max Verstappen addresses Toto Wolff's public wish to recruit the Red Bull star

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing in the post qualifying FIA Press Conference. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4,
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing in the post qualifying FIA Press…

Max Verstappen has reacted to interest in acquiring his services from Mercedes.

The internal goings-on at Red Bull this year created the unlikely scenario that they could lose their star man, potentially even to their main rivals.

Mercedes must find a replacement for Lewis Hamilton, who will join Ferrari next year.

And the entire driver market hinges on Verstappen making the final call over his future.

His contract, which runs to 2028, does include quit clauses but Verstappen insists he will stay put.

Asked about Toto Wolff’s public declarations of wanting him, Verstappen told De Limburger: “He can't do anything else.

“I understand why he does it. You can't ignore me.

“In the past, even before Red Bull, we had discussions with Mercedes.

“Then they said: you have to do this and that to become successful.

“I think I have now shown how it should be done.

“They want me in that car, I understand that.”

The idea of Verstappen moving to Mercedes is particularly shocking due to the controversial nature of his first F1 title, at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and the fallout surrounding it.

“Look: a few years ago there was of course a little more tension between us and Mercedes,” Verstappen said.

He joked: “I would like to say a little more, yes, haha.

“But that can all be forgiven and forgotten. That's true on both sides.

“But that doesn't mean I think I should be driving somewhere else right now.

“In addition, Mercedes does not have the fastest car at the moment. That really is the Red Bull.”

Mercedes boss Wolff has claimed Verstappen is top of his wish-list to replace Hamilton.

“Yes, I mean, you see what his performance levels are,” he said.

“But I wouldn’t want to discount the other ones too.

“It’s the kind of relationship that needs to happen at a certain stage. But we don’t know when.”

Verstappen led teammate Sergio Perez home for a 1-2 finish at the F1 Japanese Grand Prix.

It is the third finish, in the same order, for the Red Bull duo in four grands prix this season.

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