Max Verstappen says he hopes third-place finishes will be the “worse-case scenario” for Red Bull during the 2020 Formula 1 season.

The Dutchman claimed third spot in the 2019 drivers’ championship after taking three victories for Red Bull in its first season powered by Honda engines. Despite impressive progress on both the chassis and power unit side, Red Bull was unable to mount a title challenge. 

But Verstappen is confident further gains over the winter will help Red Bull take the fight to Mercedes and reigning champion Lewis Hamilton in 2020. 

“We will try to do better this season, we want to fight for the title,” Verstappen told Sky Sports. 

“Last year at some rounds we couldn’t really mount a fight but then you still need to collect the points as much as you can and maximise a lot. 

“I hope from this year onwards we will always be fighting for a podium at least, worse-case scenario we are fighting for third, let’s say it like. I’m excited and looking forward to it.”

“We just have to make the most out of it and make sure that we worked the hardest over the winter and made the biggest improvements and we’ll find out in winter testing already,” he added.

“As a team we are targeting that, of course we want to fight for the title and do well. Time will tell and at the moment it is difficult to say, but we are doing everything we can to try and step up.”

However, Verstappen insisted he will not change his approach “drastically” in his bid to claim a maiden F1 world championship. 

“As a driver you always want to become better, so you look into everything but you try not to over-drastically change things around,” he explained. “I just need to make sure that I am ready once the car is there to perform and I think we are in a good way. 

“There’s always things you can be better. It’s never perfect and you can never be one hundred percent perfect. There will never be a season that is perfect but you try to be as close as you can.”

Verstappen, who recently penned a fresh deal to remain with Red Bull until the end of 2023, says he feels a sense of relief now that his future is secure. 

“I think it was the right decision to stay and I think for the whole team it was better, it takes any question mark away, nobody is asking anymore about those things. 

“We just go into the season fully-motivated and we know also that in the coming years we are working together. So I think that’s a great thing.” 

 

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