Verstappen holds a 32-point advantage over Hamilton in the world championship after claiming three victories in a row and winning five of the opening nine races so far this season.

Mercedes is bringing an upgrade to its W12 for this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone as it looks to end its winning drought that has stretched to five races and close the gap to Red Bull.

Despite boasting a healthy points lead, Verstappen remains cautious about his title prospects heading to a circuit Mercedes has largely dominated at since 2013.

“We’ve started the season off really well and of course I’m very happy about that, but we have to keep on pushing,” Verstappen stressed.

“We can’t just be thinking about our results so far. It’s going to be really tight and a challenge for the rest of the year but that is what makes it exciting.

“We were for sure ahead in Austria and our car was very good there but in France we only won with a few laps to go, so the championship is very close and maybe even closer than the points show at the moment.

“There are some tough tracks coming up where Mercedes may have the edge on us but we have a great Team and we are doing everything we can to try and stay ahead."

F1’s new sprint qualifying race will make its long-awaited debut at Silverstone and Verstappen says he will reserve judgement on the format shake-up until after the weekend.

“I'm very open about trying the sprint races and I quite like that we have a bit less practice before we head into qualifying, but let’s just wait, it’s difficult to say anything about it until we’ve tested it this weekend,” he said.

“Every race you take risks but controlled risks, especially when you are fighting for a championship, but this one race isn’t going to define the end result.”