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Whether you like him or not, you have to respect the supremely talented Max Verstappen’s skill on a racetrack. Considered by many as one of the brightest young stars to break into Formula One, the Red Bull Racing driver is destined to challenge for the world title at some point in the future – so why not in 2018? It would take a brave man to back against Verstappen based on talent alone.

For the third time in four years, Lewis Hamilton has been crowned world champion; much to the delight of Britain’s passionate motorsport fan base. However, the tide could be about to turn in Verstappen’s favour. At 20 years old, he is still incredibly raw but with a powerful car at his disposal, a title triumph next season is not out of the question if he manages to channel his aggression correctly.

Verstappen has shown glimpses of his potential throughout his brief tenure in Formula One and fans will be excited at the prospect of a hard-fought title race in 2018. Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas gave it their all this year but it wasn’t quite enough; Hamilton secured a fourth championship with two race weekends left in the campaign and supporters will be hoping that next year’s fight goes down to the wire.

Labelled as a future world champion for most of his short racing career, Verstappen has had to deal with added pressure – not an easy feat for someone so young. Although reckless at times, the Red Bull star has already achieved so much. Winning the Spanish Grand Prix back in 2016 on his debut ride for Red Bull was a highlight, as was his most recent success at the Mexican Grand Prix at the end of October.

Teammate Daniel Ricciardo will believe that he is still the main man at Red Bull but it is only a matter of time until Verstappen blossoms into an elite AND consistent driver. At 4/1 with various bookmakers, he is a short enough price given Hamilton’s dominance but the 20-year-old has the quality to push the British driver close. For Red Bull, the biggest uncertainty will be whether they can produce a competitive car…

With so many unknowns heading into pre-season testing, punters may wish to wait before placing any bets – and with good reason. However, those who fancy Verstappen should look at the promotional offers via Oddschecker. Minimising risk on any wagers placed may be of interest to those who believe that Hamilton still has the edge but want to take Verstappen’s current price.

Verstappen will fulfil his potential at some point in the future but, for now, he may have to be content with being part of the fight. Hamilton and Vettel have dominated the Formula One scene in all but one of the last eight seasons, but this has been the most competitive year yet. With four or five contenders for the crown, predicting a winner will be tough. If it is a tight battle for top spot, Verstappen will be ready to pounce.

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