Media playback is not supported on this device Max Verstappen on the future of Formula 1
F1 drivers’ world champion Max Verstappen has said he is not the new Michael Schumacher, amid claims he believes he can emulate the seven-time title-holder.
The 20-year-old Red Bull driver led from start to finish to claim his maiden title in October.
“I don’t know if I can,” he said when asked if he believed he could become the next Schumacher.
“The first step is always the biggest challenge, but I’m happy to achieve what I’ve been doing and he was maybe a very good driver, he had a very good childhood as well.”
Verstappen endured criticism in his rookie season in 2015 for posting on social media posts mocking several drivers, including then-Brawn GP driver Jenson Button and then-Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
“I keep it real. I don’t filter my mood and I don’t be like myself or others are,” he added.
Verstappen will begin next season under a cloud, with a four-race ban for exceeding the permitted radio use.
It is the second time in 18 months that the youngster has been handed a ban, and he says this is not fazing him.
“We all did things wrong in my opinion,” he said. “If you think you are doing something right, then why are you so upset?
“And this will be the reason I come back next year and be even better.”
Verstappen’s win in Mexico last year was his third pole and won the title
Verstappen’s father Jos went on Radio 5 live to discuss his son’s positive year in F1
World-record pole margin
Verstappen took pole position for 12 of the 18 races he entered in 2018, the most of any driver in a single season.
He set the record for the biggest race grid position win, as he pipped Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel at the final round in Mexico.
Verstappen topped the standings for 12 of the 19 races this season, despite being out of the title picture at the 11th race of the season.
During the campaign, his on-track behaviour turned into a running bet with Ricciardo.
After failing to win another race on the last day of the season, Verstappen later said: “We know how each other feel. He’s a tough guy and we’re both a bit stressed.”