Written by By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
F1 star Max Verstappen, 18, is already one of the most talented young drivers in the sport, but the teenage superstar feels his name should not yet be mentioned in the same breath as the greatest motor racing driver of all time, Michael Schumacher.
“It’s a dream of mine, but to stand beside him would be a little unbelievable,” Verstappen told a German newspaper.
“He’s a great legend of our sport and a guy I always looked up to growing up. It would be interesting to have a face like him. My hopes are high, but then he wouldn’t have disappeared after all the years he’d already spent in the sport.”
Of course, at just 18, Verstappen would be only just realizing his biggest racing dreams in his second season in F1, whereas Schumacher was already retired at the age of 37 when he crashed and broke his leg while skiing in 2013.
The German only returned to racing in November 2015, a few months after his horrific accident. He retired again in 2016, but was linked to a comeback this year only to delay a decision until 2019, and then again, in March this year, now that his racing career is over.
“Honestly, he’s old, but he still has a chance,” Verstappen said in an interview with radio station DWR.
“He has a lot left, especially to show himself. How old will be, whether his future will take him back and on where? I still don’t have a clear answer.”
“It’s a dream of mine, but to stand beside him would be a little unbelievable.”
The still untested Dutchman confirmed he’s got an eye on a top three finish at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix later this month, saying a good result for Mercedes could set up a showdown for third place between three drivers — himself, Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
“I’ve beaten him in the car before, but I wouldn’t want to ever play favorites,” he said, referring to Vettel, with whom he’s had a rivalry for a number of years.
“The last races, and their strategies, may well decide which team comes out on top.”
Though he was unable to compete with Lewis Hamilton this year, the Dutchman is currently second in the world championship after Hamilton won the last two races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, with Verstappen on one point in fourth place.
“I’m optimistic, we’ll be competitive in the last races,” he said. “We will see.”