After starting his full-time career as a Formula 1 driver with Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2015, we never thought that at the time, a 17-year-old Max Verstappen would be a possible Drivers' Championship title contender just a few years later.
However, after joining Red Bull in 2016 and ending the 2017 season in 6th, the Dutchman is certainly one to watch for 2018.
Verstappen will be racing with Red Bull when the 2018 season kicks off in Australia on March 23. But more importantly, he'll be racing alongside Australian team-mate Daniel Ricciardo once more, who is also looking for his first Formula 1 championship title.
The pair will have the chance to battle it out with the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel for the 2018 championship. But Verstappen is confident he and Ricciardo should be able to keep a strong friendship even if they are competing with each other out on the track.
"I think so, because we respect each other," Verstappen said, when asked about maintaining a positive relationship with Ricciardo by SpeedWeek.com.
"Sure, when you fight for the title it gets more intense, but in the end, you come back to that mutual respect."
"You have to accept when someone is faster and I think we can do that."
"If one of us has a good race, the other one says that he really deserves it - and I think that's very important."
Also, with speculation mounting that Ricciardo could leave Red Bull at the end of the 2018 season, Verstappen has also commented on racing with the Australian for the long-term.
"We have a lot of respect for each other and frankly, in my racing career so far, I've never had that much to do with a team-mate," he added.
"Even if we give anything to fighting hard with one another on the track, Daniel is a great guy and we have a lot of fun next to the track."
"So I hope that we will be team-mates for a very long time."
Who will your eyes be on as a contender for the 2018 F1 title? Let us know in the comments!
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