Verstappen: Third place won't make me happy in 20 years' time

Max Verstappen will be pleased if he can hold off Charles Leclerc to seal third place in the Formula 1® drivers' championship, but he doubts it will give him lasting joy.

Having won the Brazilian Grand Prix last time out, Verstappen is 11 points ahead of Ferrari's Leclerc in the standings heading into the final race of 2019 in Abu Dhabi.

The victory in Brazil was Verstappen's first since July, and third of the season overall, while Leclerc has enjoyed a fine breakthrough year, with two race wins and a further seven podium finishes.

However, Red Bull driver Verstappen says he will take little joy in securing a third-placed finish, as it is not a feat which will be remembered when his career comes to an end.

"I think it's always nicer than finishing fourth or fifth, but looking back in 20 years' time and seeing that you were third in the championship wouldn't really make me very happy," Verstappen said in a news conference.

"I think we are all here to win and we are all here to fight for the title.

"I think it would be nice after the weekend to be third, but in 20 years' time, I don't think it will do much."

The Dutchman is confident that, come next year, Red Bull can close the gap on Mercedes – who, predominantly through Lewis Hamilton, have dominated F1® for the past six seasons.

When asked if he had a car capable of winning the championship, Verstappen said: "Yeah. I think we do, also looking at the plans for next year.

"I think [2019] has been very promising, and I think also we had some good results. For me what was also important was the reliability and I think that has been very strong throughout the whole year. Also the progression we've made with the engine itself, that has all been going very well but we always want more.

"So we will never be satisfied with what we are doing. But yeah, it's been good. I think it is a good base for next year as well where I think we learned a lot throughout the whole year.

"I feel confident that we can have a positive start to next season."

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