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'PARTY MODE' Max Verstappen assesses F1 rivals' competitiveness levels

'PARTY MODE' Max Verstappen assesses F1 rivals' competitiveness levels

'PARTY MODE' Max Verstappen assesses F1 rivals' competitiveness levels

'PARTY MODE' Max Verstappen assesses F1 rivals' competitiveness levels

Three-time Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen has said that his position as the dominant force in the sport is one he has always 'dreamed of'.

The Red Bull man has claimed three consecutive drivers' championship titles, with the last two coming in relatively easy fashion as his team have provided him with two exceptional cars.

Heading into the upcoming 2024 season, Verstappen is favourite to retain his title once again, with Red Bull's RB20 design looking pretty nifty during three days of pre-season testing in Bahrain.

However, Verstappen's superb run of success - that has seen the Dutchman rise up to third in the all-time list of race victories - started in his seventh season in the sport, having previously experienced a period where Red Bull's rivals were so dominant.

Mercedes won eight constructors' championships in a row between 2014-2021, with Verstappen's rival Lewis Hamilton winning six drivers' championships in that time.

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Verstappen frustrated by Mercedes pace

Now, Verstappen has been talking about this period, a barren spell for his team despite the Dutchman managing to claim 10 race victories before his first championship-winning season in 2021.

“I found it very frustrating back then when I couldn’t win,” Verstappen told Motorsport-Magazin.com. “Because you have the feeling that you can do it – but you can’t show it.

“That’s why I’m very happy in the position I’m in now. This is what I dreamed of. I hoped it would turn out like this. Now that the situation has arrived, I’m obviously trying to make the most of it.

“Sometimes it looked like we were close in qualifying. But I think it’s always difficult to say because you never know how good the other guys’ laps were, and then it was also the case that one particular engine manufacturer had a party mode from 2014 to 2017 or 2018.

“If they wanted, they had more in their hands. So there was a bit of a distorted picture at that time. They did it very smartly, because why show everything when you’re winning anyway?

"Of course, there is a pole-to-win ratio… But I always see it like this: points are scored on Sunday. Saturdays are not so important.”

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