Lewis Hamilton kicks off his bid for a record eighth Formula One championship in Bahrain on Sunday at 5pm.
The Briton last year equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of seven championship wins and will be out to make the record his own this term.
But Red Bull’s Verstappen threatens to upset the applecart.
The 23-year-old Dutch driver was the last winner of 2020 in Abu Dhabi, ending six years of Mercedes success at Yas Marina, and has a good chance of kicking off the new season where he left off.
Of Sunday’s race, Verstappen says: “Now I have to deliver and the team have to deliver so we can try and mount a title fight.
“I like the Bahrain track and it will be exciting to see our performance. It’s time to see who has got what.”
Verstappen was quickest on two of the three days of testing in Bahrain.
Alan Baldwin | [email protected]