Following the introduction of permanent numbers in F1 in 2014, only the reigning world champion has been able to use the number one on their car. 

Lewis Hamilton has opted to stick with his number 44 throughout the V6 hybrid era, only running the number one on his Mercedes during practice sessions in Abu Dhabi for PR shots. 

The only other driver to beat Hamilton to a world championship since 2014 was Nico Rosberg, but the German retired from F1 immediately after winning his maiden title. 

As a result, the number one has not featured on an F1 car since Sebastian Vettel used it during his final season with Red Bull in 2014. 

Red Bull’s Verstappen picked the number 33 for his F1 career when he made his debut with Toro Rosso in 2015 and has used the number ever since.

Asked if he would switch his #33 for the #1 if he went on to beat Hamilton to the world championship this year, Verstappen replied: “Absolutely.

“How many times to you have the opportunity to drive with number one? And it’s good for merchandise as well! So it’s smart to do that.”

Verstappen holds a 19-point lead over Hamilton in the world championship heading into the final four races, having won nine of the 18 events held so far. 

But the Dutchman stressed he isn’t thinking about the prospect of winning the world championship. 

“It’s very simple to be honest with you - if you don’t think about it, you will not have any dreams,” Verstappen said. “So I’m just really focussed.” 

“In four races a lot of things can happen,” he added. “We are looking good but things can change very quickly. 

“I said it after the race in Mexico, I’ve had a bigger lead already in the championship and that disappeared within two races.

“So we have to again try to do the best we can here and again after this weekend we’ll try again to try and win the race. My approach every weekend is the same, we will not change it.”