Max Verstappen feels Red Bull can take pride in beating the Ferrari drivers to third place in the Formula 1 world drivers’ championship and confirms fighting for the world title is the target for 2020.

The Dutch driver recovered after a slow opening lap to retake second place from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to end 2019 with second place to secure third spot in the final drivers’ standings only behind Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

With the standout moment of a breakthrough win in Austria, Honda’s first F1 victory in the V6 Hybrid era, followed up by additional wins in Germany and Brazil, Verstappen is determined to build on a strong first year in partnership with Honda to launch a 2020 title attack.

“I think overall the pace was good. There was not so much more we could have done,” Verstappen said. “The strategy was good from the team, and I passed the Ferrari on the track and we could do our own race. Of course very happy to finish the season like this.

“Austria. I think also the first victory for Honda in the V6 era, that was very emotional. And as a team on-track, I think with so many Dutch fans as well, that will be the highlight.

“As a team we want to move forward, so next year we want to fight for the title of course.

“To be in front of the Ferraris in the championship for me I think was a good achievement. We had good wins, a few poles, but for next year, we of course want to fight for the title, so we have to step it up. But I think as a team we can be pleased with the improvement we made through the season.”

Verstappen duly caps the best-ever F1 campaign of his career with third place in the world drivers’ championship, while he is the highest-placed Red Bull driver since Daniel Ricciardo claimed third place back in 2016.

 

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