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Mercedes star hints early F1 EXIT for Verstappen

Mercedes star hints early F1 EXIT for Verstappen

Mercedes star hints early F1 EXIT for Verstappen

Mercedes star hints early F1 EXIT for Verstappen

A Mercedes Formula 1 driver has suggested that Max Verstappen may quit the sport ahead of 2026.

Three-time world champion Verstappen has enjoyed domination over the F1 grid ever since his controversial maiden title victory at the final race of the 2021 world championship.

READ MORE: Red Bull OFFICIALLY sign Verstappen team-mate for next two seasons

Since then, the Dutchman has broken a plethora of records in the sport, and sits in third on the all-time list of race winners in F1.

However, 2024 has provided evidence that the 26-year-old's grip on the sport may be coming to an end, with Red Bull seemingly being caught by their rivals, and the Dutchman winning just one of the last three races.

Max Verstappen is a three-time Formula 1 world champion
Max Verstappen has been linked with a move to Mercedes

Will Verstappen leave Red Bull?

Controversy surrounding Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has erupted of late, and the Milton Keynes-based outfit's design guru Adrian Newey has announced that he will leave the team at the beginning of 2025.

On top of this, Verstappen's future has been called into question, with Mercedes snooping around the world champion despite his current contract running until 2028.

Mercedes star George Russell has previously said that he would welcome having Verstappen as his team-mate, having competed against seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton since he joined Mercedes in 2022.

Now, Russell has said that he believes Verstappen will take a year out in 2026 in order to see how the grid is shaping up, with new regulations causing uncertainty over Red Bull's continued dominance.

“I wouldn’t shy away from jumping alongside Max," Russell told the Daily Mail. “Nor would I shy away from him jumping in with us.

“I had the biggest challenge of joining Mercedes against the greatest driver of all time statistically, in qualifying and in the race, and I performed against him, and that’s all I can do.

“Max can take a year off for 2026 and see which the best team is. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he did that. Remember, 2026 is a lottery. So, you truly don’t know what will transpire.”

READ MORE: Where do Hamilton and Verstappen place in Forbes' 2024 highest-paid athletes list?

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Red Bull Mercedes Max Verstappen Formula 1 Christian Horner Adrian Newey
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