Red Bull’s Max Verstappen: ‘All people are at Michael Schumacher level’

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“I think everyone is at Michael’s level,” Verstappen said. “He was the benchmark.

“I’m trying to be at a Michael Schumacher level and it is just a level with a huge door,” added the Dutchman.

“But of course I can improve with the right focus and effort.”

Silverstone has been Verstappen’s home grand prix since he moved to the sport at the age of 16.

While there have been some loud protests from some fans about his presence on the grid this weekend, the youngster said they had to get used to it.

“The average fan maybe does not know me, but they know I’m the leader of Toro Rosso so they want to stay awake tonight and watch me and that means they will see them next time. And they will see me better.”

But Verstappen, 18, refused to compare himself to the seven-time champion Schumacher, who has not raced since retiring from Ferrari in 2012.

Michael Schumacher ‘better driver than I am’

“Michael was an unbelievable driver in his era,” Verstappen said. “He was part of a triangle (with Ferrari driver) Juan Manuel Fangio and (Mercedes driver) Ayrton Senna.

“In that era, it was a very exclusive club. You need three cars and I need four but I feel in the car I can almost pass with three cars.”

Verstappen finished fifth in the 2017 season, but has had a difficult relationship with Red Bull’s technical director Adrian Newey who worked with Schumacher at Ferrari.

The youngster is currently sixth in the F1 driver standings, 30 points behind Force India’s Sergio Perez, who has won two races so far.

He said Perez, the only Mexican ever to win a grand prix, was in a better league than him.

“He had three-four years in Ferrari,” Verstappen said. “I had two years in my Ferrari.

“They can have some special top speeds but they are more physically efficient.

“They can be quicker and I am quicker from the beginning but there are differences in the equipment.

“Maybe he is not as fast on the superfast summer straights or exit, but he is physically more efficient.”

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