Max Verstappen says he is steadily earning the respect of his fellow F1 drivers.
When the season began, the sport was collectively sceptical of the 17-year-old Dutchman as he smashed the record to become the youngest ever grand prix driver.
But in his first four grands prix, Verstappen has also become the youngest ever points scorer, won praise for his daring overtaking moves and impressed with his obvious maturity in dealing with engineers and the international media.
And he told Germany’s Welt newspaper that he is also earning the respect of his fellow drivers.
“They do have more respect for me,” said Verstappen. “I can feel it quite clearly.
“They shake my hand, they stop when they see me to say I did a good race. It shows me that I am on the right track.
“I think many of them have probably realised that in the end your age is not what is important, only your racing skills.”
Verstappen may now be forgiven for thinking that, like his predecessor Daniil Kvyat, he might already have done enough to convince Red Bull to promote him up the grid.
“That is hypothetical,” he insists. “My focus at the moment is to be as successful as possible. What comes after that, we’ll see.
“I’m not here to dream about the future, my job is to do my best right now.” (GMM)