Max Verstappen takes a dig at Mercedes rival Valtteri Bottas

F1 Grand Prix of Japan - Qualifying

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has taken a dig at fellow driver and Mercedes rival Valtteri Bottas, claiming he too could have been world champion if he had a teammate who was 'not so fast'.

Verstappen had a mixed 2018, starting the season with six consecutive error-strewn races, but ended the year with a string of stunning performances to claim fourth overall in the drivers' standings. 

Whilst 21-year-old battled against the equally highly-rated, and Renault-bound Daniel Ricciardo, eventual title winner Lewis Hamilton had a much easier ride, claiming 11 victories across his record-equalling season. 

Although Hamilton repeatedly excelled in the dominant Mercedes drive teammate Valtteri Bottas failed to claim a single win all season, failing in many people's eyes to build upon a promising debut year at the Silver Arrows. 

Seemingly referencing the Finn's underperformance, Verstappen has now claimed that he too could have been world champion, had he have faced such a weak teammate. 

Speaking to AD, Verstappen also spoke of the pace advantage that Mercedes have possessed since the advent of F1's hybrid era.

"Most drivers would become world champions in that [Mercedes] car. Especially if you have a teammate next to you who is not so fast," he said, per GP Fans.

"If your teammate always drives so far behind, it is very easy to collect points."

F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi

Despite facing off against one another in one of recent F1's more exciting partnerships, Verstappen and teammate Daniel Ricciardo maintained a strong relationship and repeatedly appeared to push one another to greater levels. 

Speaking on his teammate, Verstappen agreed.

"Of course I had Daniel Ricciardo much closer to me, then you really have to fight for your points.

"There at Mercedes it was a completely different story. Hamilton, of course, fought against Ferrari, always had to stay sharp. But sometimes I think, the lesser your teammate is, the more relaxed you can drive yourself.

"And then you also know that the team is fully geared towards you. That only makes you faster."

News Now - Sport News