Max Verstappen says he’s looking forward to reigniting his rivalry with Alexander Albon from their junior racing days at Red Bull as he waits to see how the Formula 1 rookie performs at the team.

Following the shock promotion of Albon to Red Bull at the expense of Pierre Gasly for the remainder of the 2019 F1 season, Verstappen has a new teammate to contend against for the final nine races of the campaign.

The pair battled each other during their karting careers, most notably in 2010 when Albon beat Verstappen in the KF3 World Cup while the Dutch driver gained revenge in the WSK Euro Series plus the WSK World Series, and nine years on Verstappen is relishing the competition again.

“They told me [about Albon’s promotion] when I was on the simulator before the holidays so for me it was not a surprise but I’ve been there before myself,” Verstappen said referring to his own mid-season Red Bull promotion in 2016.

“Time will tell. It’s difficult for me to answer but Alex is a great guy.

“I’ve known him for a long time and a bit like Pierre we raced against each other in 2010 and he’s a fast guy, and as you can hear he is really excited so that’s always good.

“I rate Alex very high, but I also rated Pierre very high, so we’ll find out.”

While Verstappen’s spot at Red Bull is confirmed for 2020, the team is aiming to use the remainder of this year to assess Albon, Gasly and Daniil Kvyat to decide its driver line-ups at both Red Bull and sister squad Toro Rosso next season.