F1 star Max Verstappen says he’s not the new Michael Schumacher.
The 28-year-old Belgian is currently fourth in the championship on 72 points and only the highest-scoring driver has won more races in F1’s top three positions.
“I am pretty confident in my own pace,” he told the BBC Sport website.
“Since I’m third and fourth, that’s very good. I have also had a very good start to the season.
“So my opinion is I don’t want to replace Schumi anymore.
“I don’t think I could be better than him.”
It’s easy to question the wisdom of putting a team-mate ahead of a driver that has won nearly as many races as the leader.
But that was part of the reasoning behind Schumacher’s rise to the top of the drivers’ world for the past four seasons, and the main reason Verstappen is confident he can match him when the championship resumes in Austria next month.
“It’s very natural to have a team-mate,” Verstappen said.
“We have a very good team, and I have made myself available for the team in all conditions.
“But it’s been a nice journey. In terms of pace, I can compare myself with Schumi. But I think there’s a lot more we could do in terms of the car.”
Schumacher has scored 17 points since his last win on Sunday in Valencia, while Verstappen has 16 points from 22 races.
The former Ferrari driver, who made his F1 debut in 2009 and has finished in the top 10 every year since, still has the edge in the pecking order so far this season.
The German started the season in impressive form, winning at the first of the season’s three grands prix in Spain, but after that was hit by a series of mechanical problems before