Max Verstappen has earned himself the number one spot in the Red Bull garage after Daniel Ricciardo departed for Renault this off-season.
Verstappen's impressive 2018 in an underperforming Red Bull saw him finish fourth, 79 points clear of his Australian counterpart with two race victories and 11 podium finishes.
At just 21 years old, Verstappen's aggressive driving style has caused division and debate throughout the F1 scene, yet he is still seen as a star for the future and a World Champion in the making.
As a result, he's certainly not keen on returning to his former role as a number 2 alongside a Sebastian Vettel or a Lewis Hamilton.
"When I think of my own career, it is not convenient to sit next to Hamilton or Vettel right now,” said the Dutchman, per The Express.
“Although I would absolutely do it if I had no other choice.
“I believe that with Red Bull I can also become champion, as long as we have the right package together.”
Since the Brit joined Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio as five-time World Champions, Verstappen has been outspoken on the 34-year-old about his ability in relation to the car provided to him.
“I think Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo and I could just as easily be champion with such a car,” Verstappen added.
“When I see on-board images, I think Mercedes has not even gone full throttle in many races.”
And there's nobody to say Verstappen and Red Bull can't challenge Hamilton in 2019.
With a switch of engine supplier to Honda for this season, with team chief Helmut Marko optimistic about the change.
Marko told Motorsport.com: "The figures make us really optimistic, also with regard to the increase in performance.
"For the first time we can also celebrate with a 'party mode!'
"The Honda engine is already slightly above the Renault engine. If you combine our GPS data with the data provided by Honda, we'll be in the Mercedes and Ferrari region.
"Of course they're not sleeping either. But they are already at such a high level that they can no longer make such jumps."News Now - Sport News